What is a hero?

There have been two articles recently about people who the media are calling heroes in the midst of unimaginable tragedy.  Yet neither of them is calling themselves a hero.

That to me is amazing — as are they.

First was the assistant coach of a football team at a school in Ohio.  He helped students during a school shooting.  He truly risked his safety to help the students and helped during an event that could have gone a lot worse.

But, when talking to the media, he said no, he’s not a hero.  He added that he wished he could have done more.

Wow, humility and wishing to do more when you already have done so much!  What a gentleman.

And, then there is the mother who lost parts of both of her legs while protecting her children during a tornado that destroyed her house.   Knowing a tornado was coming directly at her house, this amazing lady wrapped her son and daughter in a blanket, then put her body over them to protect them.

She was interviewed this morning on the “Today Show.”  She said, I am not a hero, I am a mom. She explained that what she did was instinct and like a mother bear protecting her cubs.

Again, wow!  This woman is so humble and now injured and her entire life changed, but she feels blessed since her children and she and her husband are all alive.

Both of these stories brought me to tears and stirred emotion.  Yet they were also so compelling since neither person thought what they did was heroic.  What amazing people!

Too often I think we praise people for the wrong things and celebrate behavior that really isn’t very heroic at all.  Stars of all kinds are called heroes and love to bask in their glory. Yet, is what they do truly a heroic thing?

Isn’t it refreshing to hear of people who aren’t basking but instead saying, I should have done more, and this was an instinctual thing that was done? I think it is.  And, I think that these people and the many more like them should be praised and celebrated as people that we can truly learn from on how to behave.

Merriam-Webster defines a hero as “a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities and “one who shows great courage.”

To me, both of these people showed great courage, as many others so.  For example, this is the same as soldiers do when they are in a foreign land fighting for our freedoms;

  • Or as a fireman does while running into a burning building to see if anyone has survived and then to help them in and run back in to fight the fire;
  • Or as a policeman going to work each day not knowing what dangerous or troubled people he or she will be called on to assist;
  • Or as a doctor traveling to a dangerous country to help someone in need;
  • Or as a missionary and/or the Red Cross going to a country that is dealing with a natural disaster to witness and help clean up the mess;
  • Or as passengers on an airplane that decide to crash it instead of letting it land somewhere where more destruction can be done;.
  • Or as a spouse caring for their dying loved one and supporting them the entire time throughout that journey and the person dealing with the prospect of dying and leaving behind those most cared about.

There are many more examples of being a hero and of showing courage.  Those are just a few.  I’d love to hear from you and know your thoughts.  Please comment and share them.

I wonder if we can live as these heroes and show great courage? It is certainly something to emulate.

1 thought on “What is a hero?

  1. Pingback: Throwback Thursday / Random Thoughts | I Still Wonder...

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