Life’s vicissitudes have a way of pushing and trapping a person in a corner of self-pity and hopelessness. People have learned to rely on others for assistance through tough periods in order to deal with the unpredictability of life. As a result, heroes and heroines have arisen among us as individuals who provide their admirers with the requisite resources. The assistance may be in the form of raising one’s confidence for social help, economic support, or physical assistance. These are the people who carry on the Herculean task of egging on their mates, family members, and even people within and beyond their realms of power. The noble task of a hero is seen when they bring a change in those that surround them either knowingly or unknowingly. They can be misunderstood by many people while other people try to have high expectations of on the work they do.
There exist both divergent and convergent perceptions and expectations that people create towards heroes. There are some who expect a hero to be one of great and massive influence in the society through the initiation of large-scale life changing schemes. A great number of people expect these influence to also be evident in their lives: they expect to be direct recipients of the works of the said hero. Others perceive heroes to be indestructible and strong people who are tolerable to danger. Idealistic thought at times rests on the comical and romantic portrayal of hero characters in literature, which is beside the reality. All these are far from the true definition of a hero. Heroes are those who effects change and impact to the smallest of levels in their spheres of influence. The impact can either be in the socially, economically or even in the political spheres of influence.
Change begins from the few that decide to take up the noble task. Back on April 16, 1963, while in jail in a four-walled room in Birmingham, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a letter that was addressing the ills being propagated in the city of Birmingham. The letter came after King and some of his fellow activists were arrested while participating in a peaceful, nonviolent demonstration. At that time in the United States of America, Birmingham was the leading city in racial segregation and injustice. Police brutality and the random bombing of homes of Negros was a common happening in the city as injustice towards the black community increased the more. King decided to stand up for the Negroes who had suffered for quite a long time and while doing this, underwent first-hand injustice and racial segregation. He stands up as a hero to defend the rule of just law in the society while also extending his influence into the political arena. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that the propagation of injustice in a single place possesses a threat to justice everywhere (King Jr). Another character who shows heroic actions in his works of literature is Jonathan Swift. Swift uses satire in his writings, for instance in A Modest Proposal, to bring out the ills being carried out on the poor in the society. He does this to with the aim of protecting the poor children of Irish from inhuman treatment (Swift).
Apart from these heroes who lived long ago to bring change, there also exists similar characters in our present times. The main heroic person I have interacted with is my mother. She has always been there for the family, going through all struggles for her children so as to ensure there is food on the table, clothes to wear and a shelter over our heads. My mother stands out as a hero since she took the task of bringing up her children in the right precepts of humility and love. She always portrays these characters in her day to day activities and interactions not only with her children but also with the people around her. She has been lauded severally for her altruistic behavior towards less fortunate children and the needy in the society. Beyond that, she has always shown integrity in all her work and dealing. Being raised in a humble family, she developed the zeal to strive for success in all her undertakings. Excellence is seen in all that she does including her businesses which thrive every day from the noble leadership she employs. Another hero that I have encountered would be my former gym instructor back in high school, Mr. Morgan Styles. Despite being all built with multiple awards as a gymnast, Styles was the most humble instructor in the whole school. He would be found helping out both students and his fellow colleagues who were in need of his strength and physical abilities. On one instance, Styles helped rescue one of my friends from a car accident that has just occurred near the school. He was swift to pull out the young girl from the rubble before the engine of the car began to smoke with fire. He has always been in the front line of fighting against drug abuse in the school through rigorous drug abuse campaigns and health education talks. The impact of his services was felt not only in the confines of the school but also in the society. His integrity in the management of donor funding for the health campaigns led to a reduction of drug abuse in the school and the society at large.
Heroes also have to cultivate a good relationship with the people around them. Some people who receive praise from their heroic actions tend to change their behaviors due to pride. Others segregate themselves from the eye of the public after receiving many accolades. Such actions cause the public to doubt the true integrity and virtues of the hero, tarnishing the good image that had just been established. Good interpersonal relationships can be adopted so as to avoid instances where negativity is spread to the leaders. One, heroes should adopt humility towards the public. Humility is an admirable virtue that at times is rare among leaders and influential people. The adoption of this virtue helps heroic people to relate easily with the society. Secondly, generosity should be cultivated. A generous person is welcoming and spreads love and cohesion to everyone. Thirdly, heroes should strive to be hardworking in their engagements so as to reach as many people as possible with their good actions. Excellence should also be paramount in a hero so as to ensure they deliver nonbiased service to the society. In a nutshell, a hero should be both welcoming and caring in all that he or she pursues.
A hero should be able to use his or her resources and anything within their power to deliver service and cause an impact in his society. Participation in the affairs of those that are oppressed exemplifies a true hero. From the novel Bodega Dreams by Ernesto Quinonez, we find Bodega who is a rich landlord in the Spanish Harlem. Bodega uses his wealth in the subsidy of house rent rates and education for low-income earners in the town. He also goes an extra mile and helps individuals with start-up businesses specifically by building stands for fruit vendors so as to ease the struggles of paying high-cost rental buildings (Casey). By being involved in the livelihood of the people in his community, Bodega shows his caring and altruistic attributes despite the fact that some of his money is acquired through illegal drug deals. The acquisition of his money does not align to the demands of integrity though he proves to be excellent at what he does. At the end of the day, Bodega is a hero to many people from whom he only seeks loyalty and respect. The poem “Crazy Courage” which was written by Alma Luz Villanueva, courage is depicted as one of the attributes that are seen in people who have influence in the society (Alma Luz). Thus, a hero is one who has the courage and does not conform to the standards of the critics.
Alma Luz, Villanueva. “Crazy Courage.” Prairie Schooner (1994): 127-128.
Casey, Maud. “Bad Infuencia.” The New York Times 12 March 2000.
King Jr, Martin Luther. “Letter from Birmingham jail.” Liberating Faith: Religious Voices for Justice, Peace, and Ecological Wisdom (2012): 177-187.
Swift, Jonathan. “A modest proposal for preventing the children of poor people from being a burthen to their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the public.” Child and Youth Care Forum 24.1 (1995): 5-12.