of heroes and heroines
A hero (heroine for females) (Ancient Greek: ἥρως, hḗrōs), in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion. Later, hero (male) and heroine (female) came to refer to characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice—that is, heroism—for some greater good of all humanity. This definition originally referred to martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.
I do not intend to spark a debate; neither do I intend to shy away from the truth. I am not sure what I intend to do but what I know is that I have a point to make.
So much has been said about heroes and all they stand for and at times we have found ourselves debating the personas than what actually makes the heroes – their acts. Wikipedia has put up one of the best descriptions that could be used to define a hero and I will tackle them singularly.
This is a virtue derived from knowing the truth and what will set you free. I have never seen a fool act and succeed courageously (except in Dutch courage which is not courage at all). Courage is that fortification that anchors one’s ethics. Courage can never be of a selfish benefit but for the common good of many. The tale of Robin Hood would not be folklore today had he set out to rob the landed lords only for his benefit.
This is the epistle of being a hero, being able to stop the buck, being able to buck the trend, not for your selfish gain but once again, for the common good. To deny oneself the comfort and advantage so that the privilege can cascade on a wider scale is an honor that can be enjoyed under self-sacrifice. I recently learnt of how Bill Gates sold off a chunk of his Microsoft empire to fund his philanthropic activities in Africa. This implies less say in the day-to-day activity of his beloved enterprise but a greater benefit to humanity.
Coming closer home, there is the hero who left school, abandoned family and sought to take up the cause of freedom. Many had their families hounded out of normal living simply because their sons and daughters had sought to be different – they had sought to take up a battle that promised no personal returns but freedom for a nation.
Self sacrifice implies accepting dimensions that you had not envisaged for yourself. It means discomfort, pain, blood, tears and sweat among other things and only heroes can endure all these for no personal gain.
Here is a heroic characteristic and unfortunately the gene for such seems to be on the decline. Being a hero is not about self, it is about the cascade of the resultant action that will emancipate many and pave way to a better envisioning. Heroes for the greater good do not see the line of their wallets but see cleaner streets, more schools, happier constituents and happier clients. Heroes are selfless.
Having dispensed of the definitions, I feel the need therefore to tackle the singular hero. The hero who will never a have tombstone erected for them , a hero who might never grace the annals of history, a hero who will never cause to be seen their acts and deeds, a hero who will be selfless and not pass the buck but be willing to allow the buck to stop with them, that is you.
In everyone is a hero. In all of us is a call to greater good for the benefit of humanity. In all of us is the call for self-sacrifice and not coming back to hold the beneficiaries to ransom. In all of us is the heroic trait that calls us to be better people for the greater good of humanity. In everyone is a hero.
In all of us is a hero calling us to selfless good. A good that says when WE benefit is better than when I benefit. A good that says I will carry the burden for all of us but will share the fruits with all of us. A hero that says I will run the marathon for all of us but will create the space for everyone on the podium when the awards and the fruits are being reaped.
In all of us is a hero that seeks to be of greater good to everyone.
As the sun rises tomorrow, take a step to being a hero. Take a step to being bold, to be willing to sacrifice and to be willing to suffer for the greater good. For surely the sun will rise for heroes (and heroines) tomorrow.