Don’t Let Your Heroes Let You Down

oj-simpson-idiotWhen I heard the breaking news about Oscar Pristorius I can’t say I was surprised.  I just wasn’t.  I was surprised at what he accomplished during the last Olympic Games and I was impressed with how he opened the world’s eyes to how a disabled person can compete alongside able-bodied contestants in a sporting event.  That was really something.  His pending murder case again proves people are flawed by nature and we must always be careful who we put up on that pedestal for hero-worship.

For one reason or fifty others we tend to take a small sample of earth’s population and make them heroes.  Movie stars, athletes, even some politicians garner our worship yet they are such a small sample of the population.  Although that sample size is small, it still reflects the statistics of the larger whole when it comes to human failure to live up to expectations.  People make mistakes every day, but when mistakes are made by those who have earned celebrity status, they are amplified and seem more shocking.  They shouldn’t.

The real key to minimizing the sort of jolt we get when a celebrity messes up is to manage our expectations properly when it comes to adorning heroes with that lofty status.  People are, after all, people.  By nature they are prone to making mistakes.  Those we prop up to a condition higher than most shouldn’t receive that based on sports statistics or box office sales.  Our heroes should be real people who we know personally in our daily lives.  Heroes should be made of honesty, integrity and selflessness.  They should put others before themselves and be more concerned about the common good than how they can benefit.

Those are the qualities I look for in a hero.  Some of my biggest heroes are teachers.  Mrs. Tuttle, my fourth grade teacher, was my first-ever hero because she pushed me and she took extra time to help me when I didn’t understand something.  My brother David is still my hero even after his passing because he taught me to not care about what others think and he gave me confidence to do things I wasn’t necessarily comfortable doing.  My wife is my hero because of her positive outlook and her ability to always see the brighter side of things and the way she accepts me for who and what I am.  My dog Cheli is my hero because nothing bothers him and he is just the best dog I have ever known.

god-on-heroes

I have more heroes but I won’t list them here.  My point is each hero I have is someone I know and someone who demonstrates the qualities I believe a hero should have.  Sure, there are some sports celebrities that I hold in high esteem, but I don’t know them personally so I can’t let them into my hero circle.  Celebrity does things to people and many of those types develop problems because of that moniker.  I think the odds of me not being let down by my heroes are better than someone who doesn’t necessarily lead a normal life.

Hopefully you aren’t too surprised by what’s going on with Oscar Pristorius.  If you are, maybe you need to realign some things that allow you to remember that he is just a human being like the rest of us.  The only difference might be that he performed on the world stage in front of millions of people.  In the end, though, he shouldn’t have been placed on that pedestal because the only direction you can go at that point is down.  Put your chips down on the real heroes and those who represent the best odds of living up to your expectations.

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