Smile and Strive

Maddie D.

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Introduction

Over the course of the thirteen years I have been alive, I have always admired one person. This person has a significant impact on me whether it’s with their strong political beliefs, historic and mathematical wisdom, daily optimism or noteworthy childhood stories. After interviewing him and reflecting upon experiences that we have shared together, I was able to find the two traits that make him special. My father, David Dieffenbacher, is a hero because he is positive and strives for his personal best.

Hero Definition Essay


Smile and Strive

The “Merriam-Webster Dictionary” defines a hero as, "a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities." However, I beg to differ. Heroes are people with much more than just "fine qualities and brave acts." A true hero is a gritty individual who awakens every morning with a smile from ear-to-ear and every night ponders over how to improve. A true hero is a thankful individual who doesn't compare themselves to anyone else and strives for their personal best. A true hero is an individual that has left a single finger print on someone's heart. Those characteristics create an inspiring person. I am honored to claim that my father, David Dieffenbacher, could be listed as a synonym for the term "hero" in any dictionary known to man simply because he stays positive and strives for his personal best.

Wilma Rudolph, a track and field olympic gold medalist, shared, “I loved the feeling of freedom in running, the fresh air, the feeling that the only person I'm competing with is me.” Wilma was not the typical young girl that dreamt of being a famous athlete. She was the little girl stricken with polio on her left leg, who dreamt solely of being able to walk again. Imagine the frustration and the agonizing pain that took over her body every time she tried to maneuver her left leg. Consider the happiness and enthusiasm that spread throughout her body when she got her left leg to move on its own. With great resilience and determination, Wilma Rudolph fought and abolished the polio in her left leg to conquer her ultimate dream of getting back on her feet. She didn't stop there; Wilma took her dreams to the next level. Her new goal was to run in track and field. Similar to what her quote states, Rudolph competed for the exhilarating experience of having her body feel like a bird. A bird flapping through a gust of wind that was free to move as it wished. Wilma ran because it made her smile from ear-to-ear when she woke up, and it made her ponder over how to become a better person and a faster runner every night in bed. She did what she loved, and even when she was the fastest one on the track, she still tried to improve because she did not compare herself to the other competitors, she strived for her personal best.

My father is a hero because he stays positive in tough times. He finished college six months early due to a lot of hard work put into his studies. During these six months without school, he had been offered a job in a business. However, when the economy started to fail, the job offer vanished because they had to cut workers. Job cuts were common in many other potential businesses that my dad applied to work for; therefore, all of his advance planning to start a life outside of school vanished into thin air. Negative thoughts raced through his mind for the next couple days because he didn’t know which way to turn next. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, my father put a smile on his face and began searching for new jobs. Along the way, he had to attend many interviews and wait patiently for the economy to get back on its feet. If my father had felt sorry for himself, he definitely wouldn’t have taken away anything from this challenging experience. But he didn’t feel sorry for himself, and he learned that life doesn’t always go your way. Life will send you bumpy, dark waves regardless of who you are, where you are from, or what you do. When life sends you those bumpy waves, you need to know how to ride them, instead of hide from them. In order to ride these waves into success, positivity is key. My father, David Dieffenbacher, rode those dark waves into sunlight where they turned into light blue waves with glimmery light. Every once in awhile he sees those dark waves coming his way, but from that experience in college he knows how to overcome them.

A hero doesn’t have to be brave, smart, handsome, own a fancy house, drive an elegant car, or wear a shiny red cape. Anyone, regardless of their height, size, money, skin color, and background can be someone’s hero. What I do take into account is the person’s traits. Do you know a person who walks their dog at 11:00 into the night just so they can see their dog’s tongue stick-out in happiness, who would read and sing their kids to sleep every night until they could read and sing back to him, who is willing to be the last person in their office every if it means finishing their work with 100% effort, and do you know someone who visits their mom every week to assure that she is comfortable and content in her apartment. I am immensely, supremely, tremendously fortunate to boast that I do know someone who has sung me to sleep with “Johnny Appleseed,” has gone gone into the freezing, winter night to walk my dog while I'm sleeping, and has told me endless heartwarming, admirable stories that will pass onto generations of Dieffenbachers. My father, David Cowen Dieffenbacher is my hero because he teaches me to stay positive and strive for my personal best.

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In 2008, we went on a trip to Colorado. This picture shows me when I was six years old riding on my dad's back while we were hiking up a mountain.
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This picture was taken in 2014 in Curacao, a Caribbean Island. We are in front of a smoothie bar that we went to every morning.
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During the summer break after fourth grade, my parents took me to New York as a birthday gift. This picture was taken before we went to see Jersey Boys in Times Square.
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During the summer break of 2015, we went to Alaska. This is a picture of our family three miles away from the top of Denali, the tallest mountain in Alaska. We flew in a small helicopter to get up to the high altitude.

I chose to research how the British monarch’s powers and responsibilities have changed over the years. My dad, Dave Dieffenbacher, is my hero, and the first time he went to London, he felt like he was in a different world. London was his first trip outside of the United States, and he still is fascinated by the city today. Whenever we gather as a family to compromise on our next travel destination, London, England is always the response we expect to hear from my dad. The monarchs in the United Kingdom have always interested me because of how their responsibilities have changed in so many ways over the years. By comparing monarchs in different time periods and researching how the constitutional monarchy affected the monarch’s powers, I will gain a better understanding of this topic.