“It’s comforting to believe in heroes. They save kids from the Nazis, dive into icy rivers to save the injured and provide computers to low-income-household kids. In short, they do stuff we normal folk would not think to do or would be too afraid to do or just can’t do (right now.) But what if….we stopped thinking of heroism as a special, rare, quality belonging only to a select few? What if heroic acts were ‘something that anyone can perform, given the right mind-set and conditions?'”
So what is a hero? As defined by the dictionary, a hero is:
1. a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
2. a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal: He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
3. the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
4. In classical myth, a being of extraordinary strength and courage, often the offspring of a mortal and a god, who is celebrated for his exploits
Heroes are an important part of human history. Archelles. Hercules. Jason. King Arthur and Lancelot. And what about George Washington or Lewis and Clark? Neil Armstrong? Who do you think about when you think about heroes?
I’d bet not the grumpy old man next door always complaining about your dog using his lawn for the toilet. Or the teenage girl who spends all her time squealing on your phone and rolling her eyes. The kitten abandoned on the street. But what if….?
Isn’t in within us all to be heroes, just a matter of being willing to act, usually without thought, when another’s life is in peril or when an unknown land needs exploring and protecting? Unfortunately, we don’t have many last frontiers left and even fewer dragons to slay; the Golden Fleece is long gone as is Camelot and it’s King. But aren’t there still lands that need heroes? Would you consider feeding a starving child being a hero? Standing solid for women who are sold into marriage and beaten when they don’t obey the men who rule them?
So how do we change our thoughts about heroes to conform to the world today? How about the leader of a powerful country, or a local politician, who stands for his people and not for his own power and profit. The bystander who steps in to save a woman from getting beaten or worse; the teacher who reports suspicious bruises on a child. A heroic act can be huge or small, saving a life or simply seeing when somebody is in dire need of a friend and holding out your hand.
Shouldn’t we consider then that this world is inhabited by 7 billion potential heroes, if only given the power and the courage to act. Each of us can be a hero to somebody. Why don’t you spend today looking for your chance to be that hero?