My Father MAG

By Stefanie Cocozzelli, Staten Island, NY

When I get off the bus, I’m usually greeted by the sounds of news on CNN and taps of a keyboard. My father welcomes me, and I help him with the usual things – changing the channel, getting seltzer, bringing him his keyboard, and some other tasks. Why doesn’t he do this himself? Well, he can’t. My father has muscular dystrophy, a disease that has eaten away at his muscles to the point where he can’t walk. Of course, this doesn’t seem strange to me. I’m used to it. But the fact that my father can live just about as normally as any other parent, caring for his family, is all I need to believe in him as a role model.

I was taught never to judge people by their appearance. It’s unfair, and I could miss out on a potential friend. I learned that when I see someone of a different race or stature, I am equal to them, no matter who they are. My dad is a modern-day Atticus Finch. He read to me from infancy, and made sure I had a sense of morality and intellect.

While other children were taking the wrong paths in life, I was thinking of more important matters. I became one of the top students at my small Catholic school, and I soon moved up to a bigger challenge in middle school. In my first year, my grades slipped dramatically. My father told me I could improve, saying, “Don’t make the mistakes I did.” I currently maintain a B+ average, and he confidently supports me in all my academic endeavors, forgiving my mistakes.

His hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, shows vividly in him every day. He opposes violence to the best of his ability. Love is his most important tool, and he makes sure we know that violence is never the answer. He raised me to appreciate bands like the Beatles, Poco, and Buffalo Springfield, as opposed to music that promotes racism or demeans a certain group.

He urges me not to fear, to believe in what I think is right. “No matter what anyone tells me,” he says, “I believe what I choose. If someone is discriminating against you for who you are, they don’t deserve your time.” My friends are the most caring people I’ve met, because I realize that they don’t judge me, and they like me as I am.

I’ve always found it strange that people pity or tease me because of my father’s condition. He’s not inferior to anyone. His disease doesn’t hinder him. He’s a normal person.

When I see handicapped people out in public, I consider them equal to any other individual walking about. No one is superior to anyone for any physical reason. I’ve known that from day one, thanks to my dad.

“Anything else?” I’ll ask.

“No, that’s fine.”

As I walk to my room, I thank God for giving me a great guardian who teaches me the most important things I’ll ever need to know. My father is in no way inferior to anyone else. If anything, he’s even better.

Similar Articles


This article has 2 comments.

pinkowl BRONZE said...
on Apr. 25 2011 at 5:52 pm
pinkowl BRONZE, Tyrone, Pennsylvania
3 articles 0 photos 110 comments

Favorite Quote:
Jeremiah 29:11

this made me cry. from reading this, i can tell you're a beautiful person. i am glad your father has motivated you to be the best that you can be. i'm proud of you! keep writing. my father was killed when i was 3 years old, i never really got to know him, but i know if i did... my life wouldn't be the same as it is today. meaning, you have been delt this obstacle for a reason. i know you can handle it! (:

on Feb. 16 2010 at 5:23 pm
JackieSutton BRONZE, Brownsburg, Indiana
2 articles 0 photos 10 comments
This is really good and honest. You spent a lot of time and effort on this piece and it really shows. This is amazing! :)


MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!