This is part of an on-going series I’ll be writing to my children. See all of them here.
List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how. (This list is nowhere near complete so I tried to choose some less obvious ones.)
1. Your dad, Tyler Jones. He is dedicated and works harder than anyone I know, and has such a passion for learning. He teaches me every day that great things can be accomplished if I get off my butt and work hard. :) He is really good at building me up and pushing me to (find and) chase my dreams.
2. Your aunt Courtney. She also has a passion for education and learning that becomes contagious. Every time I talk to her she is in a new way striving to become a better individual. She reads and prays and has such a strong relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and seems to be naturally more spiritually in-tune than the rest of us siblings.
3. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Evans. Hidden deep down inside of me, she unearthed a little girl that loved to read but didn’t know it yet. Now as I’m all grown up, reading is one of my favorite hobbies and I owe it all to her.
4. My high school best friend, Jocelyn. She and I were inseparable. We laughed, we fought, we had one of the best friendships I’ve ever had. For four long years I always ditched her for boys, and yet she still loved me like a sister. That right there is true love and friendship.
5. Your sister, Amelia. Because she only lived two days after birth, we really got to know one another spirit-to-spirit instead of face-to-face. It was a life-changing experience. She’s a strong one, and has made me a better me.
6. I don’t know his name, but there was a young, pony-tailed surgeon (?) (from CTDN?) at the hospital when Amelia was born. The tears in his eyes and the way his face softened when he gazed upon my daughter as she lay in the warming panda machine will be a moment I never, ever forget. His smile as he stood over her with his arms gently folded is engraved in my mind. I often wonder what he was thinking about at that moment. That was the first time that I realized the greater magnitude of things, that one little baby’s life didn’t have to go to waste; that an imperfect, helpless baby could influence and change lives if you only gave them the chance.
7. Your uncle Kendall. He is so much fun to be around. He seems to have the best of both worlds, knowing how to be the life of the party AND be serious and dedicated when he needs to be. I’m in constant awe of how he does this because it seems to me the guy is flawless. One day he’ll teach me how to be as cool as he is. :)
8. For better or for worse, my old college roommate. We fought – a lot. We didn’t see eye-to-eye on anything and the entire year we lived together was a total bust. But it taught me patience, perseverance, and self-confidence. We all matured and moved on.
9. My college best friend Alicia. This girl is fiercely loyal and I love her for it.
10. My friend Janet. She is perhaps the most thoughtful, sincere person I have ever met. She seems to remember Amelia milestones and is aware of the 27th of every month, even though it’s not her date to remember. She seems to always be listening to the quiet voice of the spirit and knows exactly what I need to hear. She, too, is fiercely loyal.