Heroes -How Important Are They?

Christopher Reeves once defined a hero as “an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”  No doubt, Reeves was an American star –  an actor, director, and producer who was beloved by his fans.

Amazingly, the tragic accident, that left Reeves a quadriplegic, did not stop him from getting in front of an audience – even though he required a portable ventilator as well as a wheel chair and body support.  He leveraged his fame to lobby on behalf of people with spinal-cord injuries and for human embryonic stem cell research.

He played the cards he was dealt.  Reeves became a true hero by his own definition and the Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation continues the work he started.  Thus, Christopher Reeves made his final chapter of life the legacy of a lifetime.

Heroes Make a Difference in the World

And, everyone of us makes a difference in the world, too!  Now, what kind of difference is entirely up to us.  Heroes can provide us vision.  Sometimes
our family members need to understand and remember that they are not the only ones who face barriers that need to be overcome.

Exposing your children or grandchildren to biographies such as Winston Churchill, Will Rogers, and George Washington Carver can open up a whole new world to them.  These are people who were real – not made up comic book super heroes.

Learning about heroes shows us that one individual can have a tremendous impact on the world well after they are dead.  This way kids can visualize themselves having an impact one day, despite any current obstacles that may exist.

Play the Heroes Game

I read recently where a father and his daughter played a little game.  They each wrote down the name of three heroes.  Then, they tried to guess who each other’s heroes were.

Take a minute to play the game yourself.  Who are the people you most admire (outside of your family) – whether living or dead?  Who has inspired your life?  Without over thinking it, write down the first three names that come to your mind.

It doesn’t really matter if you have a dozen heroes or just a few. Your heroes can tell you something about your own values – what is important to you now, or who you looked up to that influenced your life.

Now, take a second look at the list.

Do Your Heroes Have Similarities?

Are there any similarities that carry through from one hero to the next?  For instance, the first three heroes that came to my mind were:

  1. Margaret Thatcher – the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  2. Barbara Walters – the first female host of a national network news program
  3. Kathryn Hepburn – known for her fierce independence and spirited personality, she was a leading lady in Hollywood for over 60 years. They are very successful women in their own right, but they have a few other things in common.  All three were strong and they each broke barriers of one sort or another.  They were all very vocal in expressing their opinions.

Performing this heroes game for yourself with one of your kids or a spouse, can tell you something about each other.  The heroes in your life teach your children and grandchildren about you and what you value.

Heroes are inspirational

and help us believe in ourselves.  They teach self-respect and help us to have perspective.  Their example can help us to stay the course when times are tough.

We come to understand, when we read about their lives, that it was in the midst of tremendous struggle that our heroes came through.  They show us that the worst times, the turning points, became where they showed tremendous character.  Heroes don’t give up – they have hope.

Each of us has unique, God-given talent.  When we can add tenacity to our arsenal, and look beyond the present moment, we find hope.

Our life direction is not a matter of luck.  Many people who win the lottery are broke again in a short period of time.  The famous golfer, Gary Player said in 1962  “I notice that the more I practice, the luckier I get.”

Life is not fair.  We are often not dealt the best cards.  But how well we play those cards, can be inspired by the vision of heroes we carry with us on life’s journey.

My father and I didn’t play the heroes game exactly the way I presented it here, but ….. well, more on that later.

I would like to hear what you think. Share with us your heroes in the comments below.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 | NIV

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