noun: a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
photo courtesy of pinterest
The world needs more heroes. In a world where people like the Kardashians grace the cover of at least two magazines a week exploiting themselves over and over, we start to become jaded to what real heroes are and the traits that make them noteworthy and treasured.
What we do forget is that the decision to act heroically is a choice. That is correct, anyone can be a hero and it is a matter of choice in how you decide to live your life. Sometimes we come across people who are heroes because they are one of those individuals who have dedicated their lives to saving others such as fireman, military, or ER doctors. Other heroes I feel are born out of angst and tragedy that affected them in a way that it changed their life completely and irreversibly. We all know that person – the one who pulled through cancer, survived a car crash that should by all accounts have ended their life, they lost a friend or relative in a horrific tragedy like 9/11, or even lost a child. Such tragedies can give people an entirely different outlook and purpose in life and most times they wind up being heroes to many.
This beautiful woman & friend, Kajsa James, is one of my heroes. After losing her daughter to cancer she raised enough money in Maddie’s honor to open an entire seaside learning center for all children to enjoy in Dana Point, CA. Photo courtesy of Kajsa James.
You see in my opinion, anyone can be a hero however it is a choice, not a calling or a gene trait. Each day we have a choice in how we want to live – how we handle situations, how we treat others, whether we decide to be selfless or instead allow selfishness to win and how we choose to lift others up instead of allowing them to fall down.
One of my favorite heroes – Dick Hoyt and his son Rick. He took Rick for a run once years ago and Rick told his Dad, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped”. After that an out of shape man ran over 1000 races with his son. In the end it saved Dick’s life as he later learned he was close to death due to his health. (photo courtesy of google images). Read about them at teamhoyt.com
Now, let’s take a moment to ponder this question: think of a person who thought so highly of themselves, played the part of the heroic figure or martyr and relished in that image. Then think about how when push came to shove you realized that person was nothing you thought they were and your hero sort of “fell from grace”. Chances are they weren’t a real hero at all, they just like playing the part.
This time consider the not so larger-than-life person that for all accounts and purposes doesn’t really care to stand out but they do and many times don’t even realize it. Can you identify those character traits?
Let’s run through them, shall we?
our ISP wand found sitting in a window of a fire truck. (photo from ISP)
Character traits of a Hero
Heroes are concerned about the well-being of others
Heroes tend to have compassion and empathy. It is these traits that would provoke someone to run up a burning building whiles everyone else is running out as those brave firemen did on 9/11.
Heroes can see things from another’s perspective
They are selfless and try and “walk in someone else’s shoes” so to speak and can think beyond themselves. Their thoughts consistently have the other person in mind and how their actions will affect others.
Heroes have humility
Heroes don’t walk in front of you, they walk beside you. They don’t look down on you but rather into your eyes with grace and compassion. Many times they don’t even know the incredible traits they possess, which many times is what makes them so admirable.
They have incredible valor
They are there in times of need. They step in to help physically or emotionally when others are too weak to carry out the task; putting their fears aside for the betterment of another
They make sacrifices
Without hesitation they make sacrifices. Where most hesitate, they do not.
They are persistent
Even in the face of fear they persevere. Setbacks don’t discourage them but rather motivate them to do better and be better.
They have a strong moral compass
Something that is lacking so often these days. Heroes live by their values and do not waiver. Even if it means putting themselves in a bad situation, they continue to do what is right by these morals.
Our military. Forever our heroes. (photo from ISP archives)
So when was the last time you were someone’s hero?
When did you show heroic traits? Many of you will realize that you demonstrate these traits more than you thought. Some may realize they could try a little harder to show their kids, those that look up to them and possibly even themselves how heroic they can be.
My hero, our then 2.5 year old daughter who underwent open heart surgery and recovered with such grace for a young child. Always saying “thank you” to the nurses and Dr.’s even though she was in excruciating pain.
The grainy selfie she took of us at 6:00 am on our last day in the hospital post-op. We were waiting for her vitals and test results so we could finally go home and reunite with her twin. Needless to say, someone was very happy at this prospect.
How can we be a hero in every day life?
It’s simple. Take time to speak to your lonely neighbor that people are too busy in their everyday life to engage with for 10 minutes. Visit that friend in the hospital that is sitting alone just passing time. Volunteer and participate in kind acts always while your children are watching – be their role model, a role model that is a real life hero in their eyes. Teach your kids to be brave and to reach out to the child that is sitting alone at lunch. Emulate the values you want them uphold and show them the benefits of a life with a strong moral compass and how people respond to them. And most of all be persistent. Don’t just challenge yourself today or tomorrow. Make sure every day you wake up knowing you are capable of achieving something amazing and that heroism has not randomly chosen you, but rather you have decided you are heroic in your own right.
If you have a hero you want to recognize this amazing women who contacted ISP has a site and FB page specifically for honoring these individuals. I encourage you to check out www.personalhero.com
or Facebook personalhero.
So the questions stands, who will you be a hero to today?
photo from pinterest