I believe in the ordinary, honest hero. A hero doesn’t claim the heroism or their extraordinary gifts, but is just an honest and ordinary person. Heroes make sacrifices and say they are doing what anyone else would do.
I believe that each and every person can be a hero, and that each and every person has some sort of heroism within them. A hero does not take life for granted, doesn’t have to do something out of this world, and doesn’t have to prove themselves. A hero is generous, humble, tough, and loving. A hero is my Grandpa.
My Grandpa grew up in Tennessee, just a farm boy working to help his family survive. Each and every penny he earned went to his father to help his family. Grandpa made sacrifices because it was the right thing to do. He grew up learning that life isn’t fair nor does it come easy. My Grandpa married at a young age and raised a family of five children, while sometimes raising others’ children too. He was a boxer, designed plane parts, owned a farm, and worked multiple jobs all at once. Grandpa was a hard worker and a strong, generous man.
My grandpa had a tough life, but grew old to tell us his stories and make many memories with us. Grandpa was a gifted man and passed many of his talents on to his children and grandchildren. I can remember visiting the farm and watching him hit the punching bag hanging in his office and learning the “jab, jab, punch!” style or watching him ride the tractor through the fields.
Grandpa was good with his hands and made beautiful carved-out pictures. Often, he would sit down at his drawing table and start a sketch. Each sketch always turned into a masterpiece. Before his death, Grandpa drew stunning portraits of all but one grandchild and two great-grandchildren.
His hard work and artistic abilities weren’t his only incredible skills. Grandpa was an amazing athlete as well. Grandpa gave each of us a great love of sports, especially baseball. He was offered a spot on the Cincinnati Reds baseball team, but turned down the offer since he had a family to care for. He thought it’d be a selfish act not to. Grandpa always taught us to be tough: tough in life, school, work, sports, and everything else. I still have a baseball mitt in which he wrote, “Be tough!”
Grandpa never really wanted kisses or hugs, and never really gave us kisses or hugs. We recognized his love through his other actions. I can remember Grandpa buckling me into my car seat and asking for a “chicken wing” or a “chicken leg”. He did this to get a kick out of my fussing, and each time I’d cry and cry.
My grandpa died just a few years ago, but his influence upon me and my life continues to show each day. I’ve learned to give my all in everything I do, whether it’s my schoolwork or sports. Grandpa taught me to be a tough person, inside and out, and I’ve learned to be strong emotionally and physically. I might be just a little girl, but I have my Grandpa’s attitude, strong-will, roughness, and quick tongue.
I know my Grandpa would never consider himself a hero, but to me, he is. He made sacrifices each and every day of his life for the ones he loved. He’s influenced my life incredibly and taught me to appreciate life, be honest, and work hard. My Grandpa is an ordinary, honest hero. This I believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.