Ever since I watched a recent interview with Captain Sully, I’ve been thinking about heroes. What is a hero? Who are heroes? How do you teach children about who real heroes are?
I think many American’s, children especially, confuse admiration with heroism. It troubles me to see children define recovering drug addicted professional sports players as heroes. Movie stars, rap artists and sports stars are NOT heroes. You can admire their talent and their success, but are they really heroes?
In my opinion…these are examples of real heroes:
- Any man or woman who has put on a uniform and risked their own life for the freedom of our country. Hands down…a hero!
- Any man or woman who has dedicated their life to public service. Police, fire and EMS workers who risk their life every day for very little pay, are heroes.
- Anyone who donates an organ to save the life of a complete stranger, is a hero.
- Men and women who choose the health care profession, are heroes.
- Teachers, social workers, peace corps volunteers and foster parents, are heroes.
A hero can be defined as someone who voluntarily gives of themselves for the benefit of othes with little or nothing in return. So, how could you think that a rock star, ball player or politician is a hero?
Okay…so those are just some examples. Want to know actual people who are heroes? Here’s a tiny list:
- Capt. Sully for saving 155 lives by safely landing a plane in the Hudson River and for insisting on being the last person off the aircraft.
- Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic nun, who gave more than 45 years of her life as a humanitarian.
- Michael Cammarata, a FDNY, who lost his life trying to save others in the attacks on the World Trade Centers.
- Local hero and teacher, Janet Langford.
- C.R., a personal friend of mine, who as an EMT pulled a man out of a burning vehicle for $7.50 per hour.
So the next time a child, or anyone else for that matter, asks you who your heroes are, put the People Magazine down, pull your head out of your ass, and give them an intellectual and informed answer.