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Volunteer Dad This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Every game I played, I knew I could look in the stands and find my dad. This was important to me. He only missed one game in the nine years I played football, and that was because my older brother was playing at the same time.

He was and still is my biggest fan. My dad taught me everything I know about taxes, family, and football. I value my time with him; I can remember throwing the football in the front yard, and watching Cowboy games together on Sundays. I could depend on these traditions and on my dad; I knew he would be there for me.

This is not the case for all boys, as I found out when I volunteered for Casa De Esperanza, an organization for abused and neglected children. I helped out by playing with kids, usually boys. We romped in the playground or threw the football and baseball around, but it seemed that what many of the kids wanted most was to simply sit with me and talk. So many of them had never received any attention from a man or father figure, whether because their fathers had abandoned them at a young age or had never been there at all.

One boy was deaf. He couldn’t really communicate except with his huge smile. The second he saw me he was grinning from ear to ear. We played together, climbing all over a fort, and eventually stopped for lunch. He came up to my waist, and as we were walking in, he hugged my leg and wouldn’t let go. He was enjoying our time together so much he didn’t want it to end. We hadn’t said a word to each other; we had simply smiled and played. He loved being with an older male. He had lived with women his whole life, and he craved the attention of a man.

Having a supportive father is especially important to young boys, whether they are ­involved in sports or the arts. I have been lucky. My father has taught me important lessons: how to be a gentleman, how to treat women and family kindly and lovingly, and how to raise a family, among many other things. He has also done the little things; he has been there when I simply needed company, a shoulder to lean on, or someone to watch the game with.

My dad has made me into the man I am today and I am so thankful. He has set an example for me to live up to.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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onemorechance said...
Jan. 8, 2009 at 4:20 am
wow. that is so inspirational! its so great that you're using what your dad has taught you to help others! if only everyone in the world could be like that! thanks!
 
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