Heroes In Our Midst

Recently I got to thinking about the group of people that are classified as heroes. You do not have to look very far to find someone who classifies as a hero. Webster’s offers several definitions of the word “hero.” The one I chose to focus on is this. “A hero is any person admired for his/her qualities or achievements and regarded as an ideal or model.”

It seems that people have scooped up the coveted title of “hero” who are not so deserving these days. I do not believe that we hold our heroes to high enough standards. We accept as heroes many who do not warrant that honor because they do not adhere to the high standards set within this definition.

A person by this definition must have exemplary qualities and he/she must be an ideal or a model. It is the last portion of this that causes the difficulty in many cases. While we know that according to biblical standards all that are human err, to be a model is quite a responsibility. The person must rise above the errors, accept responsibility for those errors, and truly put them behind them.

Sports figures, politicians, and movie or television stars have been elevated to the honor of hero. Does the definition which Webster’s puts forth apply in these cases? Often the sports figures do much good with their notoriety, but too often they are encased in activities not worthy of praise. They abuse drugs, take advantage of their notoriety and do not certainly provide positive role models. More and more athletes are involved in activities that put them on the opposite side of the law. Is this what we want our children to hold up as the standard for performance? Is this what we want our children to espouse as their level of participation? The local youth football league does not reward prowess on the field. It rewards and recognizes those who do well academically throughout the season. This type of recognition sets the tone for the game and I applaud it.

Then, there are the politicians. People do not seem to care what they have done; if they are smooth talkers they become successful. The American people are easily duped.

Our system of making laws is corrupt no matter how you look at it. The representatives that we elect do not reflect the values that elected them once they enter that chamber down in Washington. I would like to see the process of a bill becoming a law changed. I think of the massive health care law that was passed and is soon to be put into action. Do we really know all of the provisions that are in that law? Do our representatives understand all of it? That seems highly unlikely since this massive, multi-page document could not even have been fully read and digested before it was passed.

In my mind if a law is about health care there should be nothing else in that law. Every provision should pertain to health care. That is not the case. The law contains many extraneous provisions relating to who knows what. This provision was put in so the representatives from that area would vote for it. That provision was included to entice another group to vote for the bill.

I have merely used health care as an example. There are many other bills that follow that same pattern. If a bill is about immigration, it should only have immigration provisions within it. If a law is about repair of roads, it should only be about fixing the roads. If a law is about education it should contain nothing else.

This would put a stop to all of the extraneous parts of laws that slip past the public with little fanfare. If I was a representative of the people I could not in good conscience vote for something I had not read in its entirety. Sorry, I got a little sidetracked when I got to the politician part.

Heroes are everywhere; we have but to look for them. Every community has local heroes who exemplify the best in their area of influence. We have heroes from every walk of life. People do not have to be famous to qualify as heroes; however, they must be trustworthy and must be held to the highest standards.

The local paper used to publish a supplement about hometown heroes. I remember having to find some heroes to write about. One year I chose a retired teacher. Thousands of children had been influenced by her in her career of more than 40 years. Another time I chose a local manufacturer who not only started a company but saw it get national recognition. Yet another person that I interviewed was a physician who adhered to the highest standards and was a respected member of the community. Another year I focused on a dairy farm family that dedicated their lives to the important concept of food production. I chose to do this article because when the local history of the area was compiled in the 1990s the area of agriculture was completely left out.

There are many outstanding people living among us. Some give of their time and talents, others give of their wealth. The most important factor about being a hero is being the kind of person that people look up to, the kind of person they would like to emulate.

Take stock of your values. Consider the people that influenced your life. My mother was my role model. No, she was not famous. No, she was not rich. No, she was not always perfect, but she owned up to her mistakes and created a life for me that made me the person I am. She shared her deep faith with me. Mother as your birthday draws near, I remember you and salute you as one of my heroes.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.