A coworker and I were discussing heroes today. Specifically, what makes a hero? There are many ways to describe one. The dictionary definition is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities
My coworkers point was we do not have any real heroes. We both agree we need heroes but he feels they can exist only in comics or fantasy as an ideal. The media takes anyone who approaches the heroic in real life and works to cut them down. Take away the ideals which make them a hero. Prove they are really just ordinary people and ordinary people can’t be heroes. Superman is his ideal hero, power tempered by compassion. He has a code of honor and morality which lets him overcome any adversity. In his eyes heroes should be perfect.
If you like vanilla, Superman is okay. I tend to prefer my heroes to have flaws. Heroes’ flaws are what allow us to relate to them. You want to cheer them on or feel for them when they stumble. But the flaws do not hold them back. Through the classic heroes journey as we watch the hero grow and overcome their flaws. Stan Lee with The Amazing Spiderman was groundbreaking. Peter Parker had all the problems of any high school and teens had a hero to whom they can relate.
It is walking with the hero as they move forward against the odds. In spite of, and sometimes because of, their flaws overcoming challenges can be inspiring. And they do not have to be in shining armor. Give me one whose armor has been used and shows its wear. Frank Miller is quoted as saying “The noir hero is a knight in blood caked armor. He’s dirty and he does his best to deny the fact he’s a hero the whole time”.
In the end, we agreed to disagree. There are acts which are heroic; there are heroes who perform them. There are everyday heroes. Some represent the best of people, to paraphrase something Mary Peters once said on a Peter, Paul, & Mary special part of their secret to success was they sang to each other’s highest ideals. Individually, we may not stop a bank robbery or save the world, but we can be heroes to each other by representing the best of ourselves. Be the person willing to help others to the best of your circumstance and ability. Be someone’s hero.
Thank you for reading,