A One of a Kind Uncle | Teen Ink

A One of a Kind Uncle

January 10, 2008
By Anonymous

In today’s society, almost everybody has a role model, or someone that they look up to. Every once in a while one of those role models does something different or special that makes them stand out. When this happens, it can give them a new title, a “hero”. My hero is my uncle, Alex. We have more than one way of knowing each other, as an uncle, and as a friend. What sets my uncle apart from the rest is not just one aspect but the combination of many.
When I was growing up, my parents weren’t the only ones there for me. My aunt and uncle were always standing next to them asking if they could help in any way. We might not have lived together but it sure seemed like it. I remember two aspects about my uncle from my childhood, one of being his physical features. With his six frame and spiky black hair, he reminded me of a large black bear. I distinctly remember him always wearing purple clothing, and at the time, I didn’t know why. I now know that the purple clothing was Minnesota Viking apparel, his favorite football team.

The second aspect I remember is his story telling ability. Most of the stories he told were about the war or his adventures in life. Some of the topics were serious, but he always was able to add the element of child humor to make them entertaining or funny. What I think is interesting when I look back now, is they always followed the same format. Almost all of the stories starting out with an adventure, and then he would somehow find a way to come up with a unique and funny ending. Many people try to be funny, but only a few are, and I am proud to say my uncle is one of those few.

As a child Alex Owen was just a normal kid who lived with his parents in a small town in Minnesota. Like most kids that lived there, he loved the Vikings. His role model as a kid was Ahmad Rashad, one of the best wide receivers Minnesota has ever had. But not everything in his life went smooth. My uncle disrespected his parents and didn’t live up to all of his expectations; both things that he wished he could now fix.

He learned a lot about life when he was drafted into the Persian Gulf War, more commonly known as Operation Desert Storm. “At the time, I was excited, ready for adventure” he said, “but now that I look back on it, I wouldn’t want any of my kids or nephews to have to go through that.” This was not a change in heart, but merely just the fact that wars are much more dangerous now than they used to be. My uncle was a Petty Officer Second Class; at least that was his title. He didn’t clearly explain what he did, but what I got out of it was he used radar to find where the opposing armies were. After spending one and a half years in the war, he came back. This is when he met somebody special, someone who would change his life.

Lisa Owen, his wife now, met Alex right after he had come back from the war. They have now been married for 12 years and have four boys, three of them being triplets. My uncle is very thankful for his family saying, “I am blessed with four beautiful boys”. Now that they are old enough he loves to take them hiking, biking, swimming, and do loads of other activities. He loves interacting with kids, whether they are his own or not, and has taken that love into the classroom by becoming a fulltime teacher.

My uncle is now a 3rd grade teacher at Tuscarora Elementary School. He uses his humor, child skills, and good organization to be an excellent teacher. His desk is organized with many folders and files to keep everything where it is supposed to be. When I asked him how he became such a good teacher he responded, “I have never forgotten what is like to be a kid”. He uses this knowledge to make a class fun, but also at the same time knows when to set boundaries.

My uncle is an awesome guy no matter how you look at it. He is a very handy person and likes to do things himself. If a room needs to be painted, he paints it himself. He has shown me the “Do it yourself” way of life, unlike my dad who would rather pay somebody else to do it for him. The attitude that my uncle has shown me will most definitely come in handy someday. I am not always going to be able to hire somebody to do the work for me.

My uncle has shown me how to live a life to its fullest. He might not be the richest man, but is happy with whom he is and that is all that really matters. Alex says, “I am thankful for all God has given me”, and he doesn’t take anything for granted. My uncle has shown me to be grateful for all that I am given and to work hard for everything I want.

He has also shown me to put others ahead of me. Always looking to help others before himself, he isn’t bothered to go out of his way to help others. His main priority in life is to see his kids become successful saying, “I want to be able to raise my four sons into outstanding men”. When I become an adult, and go into this crazy world that it has become, I would love to live my life as he has. Maybe one day I will be a role model for somebody else, just like he was for me.

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