Recently I was asked to review a new children’s book, Tell Me a Story, Babushka, by Carola Schmidt. You can read my review under the Recommended Reads section of this blog. The story is very moving and relatable and has inspired this month’s essay topic – everyday heroes.
In this age, theaters are constantly debuting movies about superheroes who overcome evil and adversity with magical abilities. While these stories have great entertainment value and often have good messages, it makes me wonder, who are your heroes? Who is mine? And how might our children answer that question?
To me, there are many types of heroes. Some are obvious, like those who fight crime and save lives. But, of course, many others help keep our world, our businesses, our country, our communities, and our families afloat. Many go unnoticed in their efforts– including the quiet, unsung heroes beneath our noses who share a roof with us.
Heroes can be found in every family. Perhaps even you are one. Real heroes don’t wear red capes or have superhuman strength. Instead, their powers are perseverance, patience, faith, and forward-thinking vision.
When I think about my own family members, I see a hero in every one of them. Their heroic actions are both small and large. For example, my husband is a daily hero for providing constant love, kindness, companionship, and support in our marriage.
And my daughter is an everyday hero in being a nurse, a mother, a wife, a homemaker, and a community leader. My neighbors are heroes. One helps her husband with his complex health issues. Two others care for beloved pets struggling with end-of-life problems.
Then too, there are those very young heroes in our world who’ve survived traumatic childhood events. I’m now thinking of Ukrainian children trying to make sense of the senseless attacks on their families and villages. And for that matter, all the child heroes, in all countries, throughout time, who have suffered, endured or survived warfare, starvation, separation from family, rape, injury, famine, homelessness, and so forth.
In my own family, there have been many heroes. One of my great grandmothers witnessed a fight between two men that resulted in a murder. Fearing for her life and her child’s, she took her baby and ran off in a horse and wagon, seeking safety. Later she would testify in court and become a hero in helping to put the killer behind bars.
And both of my grandmothers were child heroes who endured great poverty and illness during their childhoods. Still, they managed to survive to become loving wives and mothers, nurturing others to grow, succeed and be their best, despite their own deep scars.
My family tree is filled with heroes — Irish immigrants fleeing famine, European immigrants fleeing religious persecution, and soldiers protecting and defending freedom in virtually every war. The list goes on and on.
Fred Rogers once said that his mother told him that when he was afraid about things happening in the world, to “look for the heroes.” Doing so is important because the brave acts of others give us hope and reassurance and mirror how we can proceed through tough times. Heroes believe there is something better out there and are willing to take risks to achieve such things for themselves, but more so for others and the greater good.
So, tell me, who are your heroes? And when you search for them, remember not to discount children or little old ladies and men who walk with canes, have poor eyesight and hearing, and frequently repeat themselves. A hero can be anybody, and all deserve to have their stories remembered.