Every school morning at 7:15, harp music cascades from a house in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Who is making such beautiful music?
It’s 10-year-old Alexis.
What’s her secret formula for playing so well?
“I practice every day,” she says with a smile.
Alexis almost always practices for half an hour before catching the school bus at 8 a.m.
Isn’t all that practice boring? Not to Alexis. Ever since she was a baby, she has loved listening to her mother play the harp. She was excited on her third birthday when her mom gave her her first lesson.
Now the two play together in a harp ensemble made up of adults—plus Alexis. She likes the exciting, up-tempo pieces. At Christmastime—when the group plays for visitors in a historic mansion called “The Breakers” in nearby Newport—it makes those early-morning practice sessions worth the sacrifice.
After school, Alexis practices another talent—sinking free throws. She started practicing about a year ago after she joined a county recreational basketball team. To her surprise, she placed third in a countywide free-throw contest! Alexis likes competing, even if it’s just in a game of H-O-R-S-E with her dad or her older brother, Dallin.
Not all of Alexis’s talents are the kind that win trophies or medals. She has a funny sense of humor that keeps her family laughing. She also likes writing. For Mother’s Day she wrote her mom a silly story about a little girl who is afraid to turn off the lights.
Alexis also has a talent for kindness. In her class at school she noticed a boy with autism who didn’t have any friends. He was having a hard time learning and behaving appropriately. Alexis and four other girls decided to befriend him. They started helping him with his schoolwork and playing with him at recess. Pretty soon, he started getting along better with others. He’s a really good friend now, Alexis says.
As the only member of the Church in her school, Alexis has lots of chances to practice living gospel standards. Sometimes it can be hard—like when she had to turn down an invitation to her best friend’s birthday party on Sunday. But Alexis doesn’t really mind. She knows it’s important to keep the Sabbath day holy. Besides, she’s learned that the more you practice something, the easier it gets!
Photographs by Elizabeth Pinborough, except as noted; the Breakers Mansion, courtesy of The Preservation Society of Newport County; family photo provided