hero, n., a person, typically a man, who is admired for courage or noble qualities. The chief male character in a book, play, or movie, who is typically identified with good qualities.
Or heroine, female.
Who would you say is your hero? Do you have one?
I just read an article talking about heroes. Addressed to leaders (more specifically, in ministry), it talks about the need for heroes in our lives, and the influence those heroes have on our success. It made me stop and ask myself the question - do I have heroes? And, if so, how quickly can I identify them and why?
It brought me up short, honestly. There are four categories, so says the author of this article, that heroes can fall into; familiar (family, teacher, ancestor), famous (a celebrity, or public figure), faith-based (bible character, or religious figure) and fictional (heroic or legendary character from a movie or literature). I found these to be fascinating categories, and wondered if I could discover a hero in each. I suppose I could, but truly, our heroes are those who we identify with most, and from their example, rely on for guidance. Personally, aside from the standard Sunday-school-Jesus answer, I could only think of two.
Without naming names, my hero is strong in discipline and character. Persistent in righteousness and convictions. Skilled, trained and talented in super-human ways. Now, that's a hero I can get behind! I desire to be all those things, although I know that I will always fall short. And that is the limitation of the fictional hero; the reality of such a perfect character will always be unattainable. Even if the character has flaws in their description and actions, it always plays to the benefit of the fictional story. Unfortunately, life doesn't really go that way. Despite the perfectness of my hero, I still stretch to attain those qualities I admire - reserved control, quick reflexes, calm demeanor...you get the picture.
Again, not naming names, my second hero is a giant in my mind. A giant of intelligence and scholarship, a giant of teaching prowess, a giant of principle. Quick-witted and silver-tongued, this hero casts a long shadow of influence. And, as any familiar hero, this hero has faults. Just like the fictional hero, the familiar hero has character flaws that make them real and believable. Unfortunately, the familiar hero isn't as fortunate as the fictional hero; in real life, this hero's faults do not always play to the benefit of the story. Sometimes the familiar hero doesn't win or live up to those stellar principles. But that doesn't necessarily disqualify them from heroic status, - it just means they are human. And that is a downfall of the familiar hero - imperfection.
Then there are my default bible heroes, too...Messiah, Moses, and Joseph, of course. Nehemiah, Elijah...Paul. Paul? Oh yeah, I've studied and analyzed him so much, he may even fall into the familiar category. And, like other familiar heroes, he has his issues...
I have strong heroines, as well, which probably fall into the celebrity category - Hellen Keller, Anne Frank, and Laura Ingalls-Wilder, to name a few. Once again, enough strength of character to overcome great odds and trials, coupled with honesty, intelligence and vulnerability.
I suppose our heroes define the character traits we would most like to emulate. Reaching and stretching for those ideals is what having heroes is all about.
So, who are your heroes?