We love heroes. They inspire us and leave us in awe of their exploits. Movies are full of heroes, especially super-heroes anymore. But there are other movies that are better examples of heroes. They are based on historical events either directly or loosely.
These movies include Gladiator, The Patriot, Braveheart, Gettysburg and 300. Each of these movies is about ordinary people that do extraordinary things. In each movie the hero or heroes struggle against great odds, sacrificing much along the way, including home, family and fortune.
These heroes to me are inspirational, not because they believe the same things I do (I don’t really worship pagan gods for instance) but rather because the embody principles and values that I, and many others, aspire to. These are strength, honor, bravery, courage, integrity, honesty, loyalty, family, friendship, sacrifice and perseverance.
That is what a true hero should be. Someone who has the traits and qualities that you aspire to have yourself. True Heroes pretty much always are also tragic in some way, because of what they give up or lose in order to embody those traits. That is what draws us to them.
The common trait is that heroes are those who live for others, sacrifice for others and put the needs of others above their own needs. They don’t do it because they value themselves less than others. It’s not about having a martyr complex. It’s about recognizing that they can do what’s needed, sometimes because no one else can.
So, that might make us think that there aren’t many real heroes in daily life, right? WRONG! There are heroes everywhere. Not all heroes give their lives gloriously for others. Outside of the police, firefighters and the military that protects us, few heroes offer their lives so that others may live.
But they do offer their lives in a different way. Other heroes dedicate their lives so that others may have a better life than they otherwise would. They genuinely seek to make an impact in the lives of others. These people include teachers, doctors, nurses and other caregivers.
But anyone can be a hero I believe. Real heroes respect the dignity inherent in all people. They honor it and they seek to help others fulfill their destiny. They treat others with the same respect and care that all of us deserve. In other words, these heroes expect and require of themselves to be people of integrity, hope and empowerment.
Now, examine your “heroes” and those of your kids if you have any and ask yourself if they are people that inspire you and/or have the traits you want or you want your kids to have. Or are they just glitzy, empty flashy fluff that is attractive on the surface without any depth?
Or are they true heroes that not only put others first, but build them up in all that they do? Hopefully, the answer will please you, not scare you.