Webster’s Definition- Hero: a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b: an illustrious warrior c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities.
I believe in the power of heroes! Though we start out believing in, and loving, our mythical heroes such as Superman, the Lone Ranger, and countless other fictitious characters, it is the local hero making connections on a daily basis that hold incredible power. There are many larger than life heroes for kids to look up to, but it is not often that super-star individuals like professional athletes or famous singers are available. Granted, young lives are forever changed when given the unique chance to meet super-star heroes and listen to formulas for success. Imagine how powerful it would be for aspiring young skaters to listen while Tony Hawk talked about doing the best possible in school and the skate parks; or staying away from drugs as a avenue for achieving dreams. Yet it is as powerful, if not more, for kids to positively interact with a youth counselor that opens the teen recreation center and skate park five days a week. Like Clark Kent, our community’s most powerful super heroes are disguised in ordinary clothing. By day these average Joes are: businessmen, teachers, bankers, students, construction workers and every type of employee you can think of; yet when the workday is done they transform into something greater than themselves by simply committing time and energy. My personal hero was at times the oddest dressed person at wrestling practice. Coach Brown could be found wearing his 1980 singlet under his shorts but over his collar shirt; something to this day I still smile about. Yet, regardless of how he dressed for practice I could count on him to be there daily with whistle in hand and a smirk on his face that let me know practice was going to be hell. During a time that things at home were sometimes unpredictable and school was not much better, I could count on the fact that Coach Brown would be there waiting with whistle in hand and a kind word for me at the door. His commitment, consistency and high expectations for “his boys” were enough to make me love him forever. It is unfortunate that we can’t all have a Mr. Brown in our lives. If we did, the graduation rate would be through the roof, drug use in our schools would be down, and there would be less fear in our children’s hearts. I believe that our community: coaches, tutors, mentors, dance instructors, parks and recreation councilors, and anyone else that spends time with kids and young adults are crucial resources for our children’s success. Though I do not wish to be a “legendary character” or “illustrious warrior”, I strive to embrace good and be a positive example for the community, for my one year old son, and for “my boys”. I believe in the power of heroes.
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