Bring on the heroes

Maybe like me, you've thought of heroes as people who, being outnumbered by opposing forces, are willing to go forward in the face of great danger and risk. This is certainly the image of heroism that we often see in films. These days, though, it's often difficult to tell the heroes from the villains in movies, since both are frequently caught in a web of violence from which the only way to extract themselves is through vast destructive force.

Such images don't tell us much about real heroes, but they do often have an influence upon the way we think heroes act. Then when we may have to be truly heroic, or when others are heroic, we may not even recognize the deeper spiritual strength and goodness that underlie true heroism. The fact of the matter is, heroism is something that all of us need in our daily lives in order to be even reasonably effective. It takes moral courage and stamina to make many everyday decisions that preserve life and forward the welfare of a family or a community.

While I didn't fully appreciate it when I was young, I came to realize that ordinary people like moms and dads are often heroic. I remember a time when I limped home after a pretty serious accident on my bicycle. I can now appreciate, having been a parent myself, the heroic way my mom took over and cared for me. And there was the time my dad went outside after dark to send away a group of boys on motorcycles who were calling for me to come out and fight. My dad's quiet but firm way of dealing with the situation was certainly heroic. The heroes of a young boy—fictional and nonfictional people like Superman, Davy Crockett, and baseball players like Mickey Mantle—gave way to a more realistic understanding of those who meant the most to me.

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Meetings for youth of all faiths have begun
September 23, 1991

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