What defines a hero? Or better yet, who should be called a hero?
Here is the way Websters defines it.
Definition of Hero (Entry 1 of 3) 1a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b: a familiar warrior c: a person admired for achievements and noble qualities d: one who shows great courage
Read that again. In order. Slowly. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
When is the last time you felt like a “mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability”? Guess being heroic is out of the question for you. You’re just an “Average Joe”
Feel like a “familiar warrior” lately? Just asking. Oh, by the way, does anyone know what in the world a familiar warrior is?! You may have the familiar down…. but you wouldn’t call yourself a warrior. (All right, maybe in your online dating profile you would. Doesn’t count, cowboy. Sorry.)
That conjures up images of ancient Sparta or a distant battlefield. You’re trying to get the kids to stop fighting and not miss the bus!
Hold on, though. There are two more options. Let’s look at “c” shall we? Here it goes: “a person admired for achievements and noble qualities”. Ok. Ok. Getting closer! I’m sure there are some things that you have done that others have admired. There is that one thing you did that one time that a few people thanked you for. Felt good, but heroic? Meh.
This last one has to be you right? We’ve been building for this moment! “one who shows great courage.”
C’mon man. Are you kidding me? “Great courage?”
Why does it have to be “great”? Regular old run-of-the-mill courage isn’t enough these days?
How about checking my bank account? I face that… that can be scary! Have you ever had a bowl of cereal with milk that expires on that day? Living on the edge baby! How about Daddy/Daughter dances? I have to get dressed up, hang out in a quickly decorated gym with 150+ other dads I don’t know, and do the Cha Cha Slide. Braveheart has nothing on me!
What does this mean? Are you and I relegated to a life of no consequence standing in the background while the real heroes save the day?
I’d like to offer another option.
Letter “E” if you will.
I’m serious. I don’t know you or what you do but I believe you have the ability to impact someone else’s life and be a hero. I’ve seen it too many times to not believe it. Regular, plain, ordinary people who are not of “divine descent,” and who aren’t “familiar warriors” make a huge difference in the world.
I have seen coaches that have redirected young athletes’ lives and given them hope for a brighter future. Heroes.
I have watched teachers sacrifice well above and beyond their allotted resources to serve not just students but entire families. Heroes.
I know college students that take hours out of their week to mentor elementary students and be positive role models. Heroes.
I know incredible leaders that could make a killing in the corporate world give their lives to serving the under-resourced and marginalized. Heroes.
And on and on and on.
I know that there are thousands of everyday heroes whose stories would inspire and encourage all of us to make a dent in our world. You can be one of those heroes. You can live a better story.
Go. Make a difference. Be a hero.