A.I. Totten: A Thanksgiving for a Role Model

My grandfather A.I Totten, led a remarkable life and though he passed a number of years ago now, I still think of him often. (In fact, I think of all my grandparents often, and I am certain I will write about each on this blog at some point.) A letter I wrote to him on the occasion of his 90th birthday seems particularly appropriate today—Thanksgiving. I am so fortunate to have had a number of role models both in my family and beyond it. I am particularly thankful to have people in my life about whom I can say things like I wrote to him.  Here is an excerpt:

“Papa, I have been thinking of what to say in this letter that will reflect what I appreciate most about you. In the end I see in you an example of what I want to be—how I want to care for family, how I want to grow older, and how I want to keep my work life in balance with my home life. You stand as an example to me of how to handle life’s most difficult challenges, like losing a loved one, and you are an extraordinary example of how to enjoy life during its best days.

I think of you often in what has become my adult life. Though I am thoroughly flawed in so many ways, I am certain that knowing you has made me a better person. 

And so…Happy Birthday! I hope you know how many people care for and love you. Judged by the lives that we make better, you are leading a most extraordinary life.”

Today I am thinking of the necessity of having good role models, and I recognize my good fortune in having them.

A world-class distance runner in the 1920s, I have written about my grandfather before here.

One thought on “A.I. Totten: A Thanksgiving for a Role Model

  1. J Ross Peters November 25, 2015 / 11:21 am

    Reblogged this on Ross All Over the Map and commented:

    During our Grandparents and Special Friends Day celebrations on each of St. George’s Campuses this week, I had the opportunity to speak briefly about the vitally important role of grandparents and friends in the lives of our students. During my brief remarks, I mentioned that my own grandparents had played critical roles for me growing up. Just thinking of my grandparents reminded me that a great educations for our children most often results from partnerships between student, parents, grandparents, friends, neighbors and schools. My reflections yesterday reminded me of the blog entry below from a few years ago.

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