When I was growing up I wanted to be just like Xena, Warrior Princess – strong and brave, able to do front-flips and beat people up! I thought she was a hero – my hero. But you’ll be glad to know I realised I could find better role models, and changed to them accordingly!
What do you think a ‘hero’ is? Someone who can stop a speeding train or leap tall buildings in a single bound?
While watching The Avengers I thought, “If Iron Man is sarcastic, arrogant and egotistic, why is he still considered a hero?” Is it because (after a great deal of persuasion!) he risks his life to help others?
Why do we look up to celebrities as our heroes instead of everyday people who have done things to build and benefit our community? Admittedly several celebs have done some inspirational things such as adopting foreign orphans. However many who are fame-obsessed and attention-seeking are not positive role models. So why do people still ‘worship’ them? Young women like you and me look up to them and think, “I want to be just like them” But they don’t deserve to be thought of as ‘my hero’.
We can admire celebrities for what they achieve, but do they have the qualities of true heroes? Media often highlight the selfishness, bitterness, self-obsession, arrogance and other negative traits of actors, singers and sporting stars. A celeb can be famous for any number of reasons, often insignificant or even negative. Heroes too can be known for many things, but in general they contribute positively to the lives of others – and they are not necessarily famous or even well-known at all.
Surely heroes should be looked up to for their courageous actions, for overcoming huge obstacles to survival, for improving the lot of others or for rescuing people. Sick children, firefighters, doctors, missionaries, teachers and even our parents can be good examples.
Some adolescents see their mother as a hero but, for me personally, my school chaplain and my teachers have been my role models. These wonderful women inspire me by demonstrating perseverance, determination, compassion, courage, self-confidence, understanding and inner beauty. They know who they are as women in the school community, they know their purpose in life and they know their value. They have overcome many of life’s obstacles and positively influence the lives of those around them, regardless of the amount of publicity they get.
Have you got a hero in your life? Maybe it’s your mother or father or even your favourite teacher.
A hero could be just an ordinary person like you or me. After all, everyone has the potential to be a hero to others!
- Zaili Draheim
Illustration by Ana Allen