I saw something on Facebook the other day that got me thinking. It ran a range of emotions through me; everything from sorrow to confused.

Unknown Source
Unknown Source

As you can see the image above, the individual on the left is Caitlyn Jenner and on the right is Lance Corporal William Kyle Carpenter and the implications of what is an appropriate hero.

Upon seeing this floating out there in social media world, I found myself pondering about what is a hero?

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a hero as “a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities; a person who is greatly admired”.

If I had to define hero, it would be someone I find strong, honest, courageous, and someone who has traits and qualities that I strive for in my life and on my journey.

I know that I’ve had my number of heroes throughout my life, but upon reflection, its interesting, how they have changed as I’ve walked my path in life.

Courtesy of http://www.sesamestreet.org/home
Courtesy of http://www.sesamestreet.org/home

When I was younger, Mr. Aloysius Snuffleupagus (Snuffy) and Big Bird were my heroes. As I moved through elementary and Jr. High my parents became prominent heroes. During my high school days Snoopy & Charlie Brown, O-Town and Princess Diana accompanied me down my path. As I reached college I shifted over to individuals who were more societally pivotal such as Pope John Paul, II and my relatives who joined the military services. After college, and as I was emerging into several new identities, individuals such as Harvey Milk and RuPaul were heroes to me.

Now as a soon to be 30+-something, I find heroism to be not only in Caitlyn Jenner and Lance Corporal Carpenter. My list of heroes includes family and friends who stand by me to advocate for my rights. It has friends who stepped in to save me from my alcohol problems. It covers friends who are vocal and push the boundaries to move society forward. It includes loved ones who do their best everyday to make the world a better place. It includes some of my fraternity brothers who dare to break the stereotypes. It has my friends who are striving everyday to raise their children the best they can. And of course it still includes my parents. 🙂

As I’ve written this post this morning, I’ve come to realize that “Hero” is an interesting title. Perhaps instead of hero, we use terms like friend, mentor, brother, colleague, etc. Cause for me everyone in my life is a hero. I look to each of them for friendship, mentorship, companionship, strength, courage and walking with me on my journey to becoming a better person.

Courtesy of www.raproject.org
Courtesy of http://www.raproject.org

Ultimately instead of comparing and contrasting and why or why not individuals are considered heroes, perhaps we should just strive to accept that we each  have a different list of people we admire, that constantly changes throughout our lifetimes. And rather than spending time demoralizing and degrading those others may admire, perhaps we all should work on being the best person we can be, because who knows, maybe you’re someone’s friends, brother, mother, sister, colleague or even hero.

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

2 thoughts on “Heroes

  1. I like your sentiment here. For me, a hero would be someone worthy of emulation. While I respect others right to their views, since I am a pacifist and have heard things about how Jenner abandoned his kids for years at a time without so much as a birthday card, neither one of these would be a hero in my book.

    1. Thanks for the thoughts! I can see your points on Jenner in terms of his family decisions. For me I was looking at his decisions to transition to become Caitlyn. But it is a good point of merit on what part or parts of a person do you look at to determine if an individual may or may not meet ones definition of hero.

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