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Why the Smile? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   If you know me, you know I am extremely happy. There is hardly ever a time I don'tsmile, and I am asked all the time how I stay this way regardless of thesituation. If you knew my dad, you wouldn't have any more questions.

Mydad is a 45-year-old bald man who, from a distance, looks awfully scary. When youget closer and see his rosy cheeks and soft blue eyes, you realize you havenothing to fear. He has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. If anopportunity to help passes his way, he cannot say no. All he wants to do in thisworld is make someone else smile. The crazy thing is, he can always doit.

Dad works in a coal mine, which takes all his time. He literally onlyhas time to eat, sleep, and go to work, but somehow he always seems to find a wayto do more. Every Sunday and Wednesday night he leads our church's youth choir.By the time he arrives he is worn out, but he always has energy and pumpseveryone up. He runs around acting really crazy, singing very loud, and basicallybeing stupid. Really, you cannot help smiling at him. When choir is over, heteaches a Royal Ambassadors' class, where he works with elementary-school boys. Iwould hate to see these boys' faces if my dad did not come one night. Theyabsolutely love him. The greatest part is that if they have any problem, Dad isthe first one they go to. They love him just like a father.

When I see mydad with these people, it has such an impact on me. Even after all these years,it still makes me have this warm feeling inside when I see how much he means toall these church children and how much they mean to him. He does not have to go,and honestly he shouldn't; he should be home asleep. But it is as if all theseextra activities give him more energy than even a nap would.

You wouldthink that all of this would be enough reason for me to see my dad as someonespecial, but what really impresses me is how he acts when times are bad. A coupleof years ago, Dad and I were hurrying home to celebrate his birthday. Dad, ofcourse, had not had much sleep and should not have been driving, but he wasdetermined to get home. The whole trip we had not had to stop for one red light,and when we actually did reach one, Dad just kept on driving. In the middle ofthe intersection, our van hit a car. We went spinning; it was terrifying. The vanstopped, and my dad asked if my friend and I were okay; as soon as we said yes,he was out of the van and on his way to see the driver of the car we hit.Thankfully, she was okay. The rest of the night my mind was confused, but mythoughts were still on my dad. I watched him as he went around talking to all thepeople who had come to help.

When the police arrived, my dad went rightover to them and said, "Officer, this is my fault; I ran the redlight." The other driver was grateful for his honesty, and so was I. My dadshowed me once again how I should act, not only during the good times, but alsoin the bad. Believe it or not, there was a smile on his face the whole time. Iknow inside he was hurting, but he felt he couldn't show it to keep everyonearound him strong.

Daddy has shown me that the only way to be is with asmile. I have really tried to stick to that, and it has pulled me through manyhard times. Sometimes a smile is the only thing that keeps me together, soreally, if it weren't for Dad, I probably wouldn't make it through some things.Also, a smile keeps my day positive, and it might just make someone else'sbetter. I don't really thank my dad enough, but I really owe my happiness to him.We have had so many good times, and I am ready for all the times still to come.




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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