Thursday, April 9, 2020

Holding Out For A Hero

Remember that song? I guess everybody knows it now thanks to Shrek, but who remembers the original sung by Bonnie Tyler? The video released with it was very dramatic, which fit with the 1980's and the early days of sitting around watching music videos with your friends. Then music video stations morphed into less than stellar reality TV programming and now everyone just watches youtube on their phones.

Let's hop off the rabbit trail and focus on today's letter.

Day 8-H is for Hero

My thirteen year old nephew picked this one. It's a good word, and one we're hearing often these days in reference to healthcare workers on the front line, classroom teachers who, without missing a beat, rapidly shifted gears, and company CEO's who've turned their factories and businesses into something completely new and different in an effort to provide what's needed in the immediate.

Earlier this year we cheered the bravery of firefighters around the world, and of course our men and women in uniform are often called upon to perform small and large acts of heroism in service to our country.

I'm someone who likes words, who think words matter. When a word is used too casually, it loses some of it's power. The same can be said of words that are over used to the point they become watery and then when we really need the word, when it truly fits as a descriptor of a person or situation, it doesn't get the attention it deserves. We don't sit up and take notice the way we should because we've become numb to it. I have a list of words I think fall into this category but for now let's stick with hero.

I've seen people called heroic for speaking their mind. Is that heroic? In some cases it might be brave, but heroic? Are bravery and heroism the same thing? Maybe if you're preparing to die for your beliefs, but is speaking out from behind a computer screen on a social media site in the same category as true heroism? I would say no.

I think we often use the word hero when what we really mean is role model or mentor, maybe even just a good example for others to follow. Real heroes are all of those things, but I don't think the reverse is neccessarily true. You can be a good example and role model without being heroic.

So who are the heroes?

I think true heroes behave in a sacrificial manner, with no thought given to the fame or notoriety that may come their way as a result of their actions. Their actions change the world, or at least change the situation at hand from something dangerous-life threatening-potentially disasterous to something better.

I read about a survey conducted a couple of years ago among British children ages 6-13 asking them who are their heroes. Guess who took the top spot?


Well Mum because because it was a British survey , but either way that answer made me happy.

If we think about what good mothers do day in and day out the word fits. Mothers put themselves last. They aren't seeking fame for their accomplishments and in fact they've often set aside their own dreams and aspirations to ensure their children grow up reaching for the stars.

Mothers can change a child's world or at least how the child sees the world and his place in it. A gentle hug, wisdom bestowed, a quiet act of kindness. With the routine sameness of always being there doing all those little things that in hindsight turn out to be not so little.

I think right now the medical people suiting up daily and marching into hospital rooms where people are sick and dying, with many unknowns still out there, is heroic. On a different scale but perhaps no less important, moms keeping in check the mental, physical, and emotional health of the humans in their care during this season of change and uncertainty might also be worthy of the word.


  1. Yes, indeed!! A good word well done.

  2. There are definitely a lot of people out there at the moment doing great things but for me the heroes are the ones who are putting their own lives at risk without giving it a second thought. I guess as a Mum who would willingly do that for my kids that makes me a potential hero but I hope I would never be tested in that way.