What makes a hero

Written by Telaine Feeney

Heroes are understated.

Few would call themselves heroes as they are doing something, they have no choice about doing. They struggle to accept that title as they feel discouraged, tired, and overwhelmed.

They are those around us who make sacrifices for others. They are not the sportsman on TV sprouting their sponsorship breakfast cereals. They are not the politicians on social media hash-tagging their virtuous deeds.

What do you think of when you picture a hero? For me it is the willingness to make a sacrifice for the benefit of others. The ‘small’ people in our community. Those fighting terminal diseases while still trying to ease the burden on their loved ones. Single parents denying themselves clothing and meals to give their children a great education. Adult children who put their lives on hold to care for sick parents.

We tend to forget the everyday heroes.

We idolize people we ‘follow’. Those who by career or media idolism we look up too. We see politicians and sports stars as ‘heroes’, when, in reality, it’s those in careers that help others that are heroes.

Heroism is not choosing a career; it is the choices you make as a person. Its your values. A politician for example might start a foundation, raise community awareness, and fundraise. That is an admirable act.

BUT… It is not heroism.

Now if that same politician decided to help someone else, with personal sacrifice attached – say, they donated an organ, knowing there was no reward or gain … that is heroism.

And there lies the foundation for everyday heroes.

Heroes are the those around us who face challenges, but do not let them define who they are. They grow from the experience and help others. They are patient through the changes, they show humility in sharing their weaknesses, they believe in themselves and persevere through thankless challenges.

We all can be heroic.

To do those things that feel impossible. We can act beyond ourselves to help others doing things we think we are incapable of doing… until we are tested.

We can be noble and choose the importance of what is ‘right’ over self-preservation and what is easy.
So, let us not lose belief in the realism of heroes.

Let us strive to be one.