what is a hero?

Robert - Auburn, Washington
Entered on November 8, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

What is a Hero?

Being a hero can mean anything from playing catch with a little kid from down the street, to finding the last person in a house that’s on the verge of burning down and carrying them out. I believe children look up to parents, grandparents, siblings, or even a distant cousins this way. For me, my older brother Ray has been my hero since I was old enough to say the word hero. Other kids were trying to be Batman or Spiderman; some even looked up to the Power Rangers, but not me I loved and idolized Ray.

Summer was my favorite time of year. The word summer only meant one thing to me; I got to hang out with my brother almost every single day. Sometime on a sunny July afternoon, after I had been whining about being too small to do anything fun; my brother Ray brought about ten guys and a couple girls over to our house, a couple of them were carrying boxing gloves. They were like wind, in one door out the other. Before I knew it they were out there pummeling each other. So I ran outside and punched kid that looked and felt like a brick wall. Both my brother and this other guy started laughing and sat me down on the edge of the grass in our back yard. They were trying to explain what was going on but all I got out of it was a show. As I watched my brother standing 5’7” and about 165 pounds just destroy this huge muscular guy a smile came over my face. These guys were dropping like apples from a tree. Suddenly an empowering feeling hit me, and I could see that size didn’t matter; the only thing that really determines your results is how much you want something. Looking back at it all now I began to realize how much heart meant in this world.

Along with admiring his strength and agility, I started to notice that his work ethic was phenomenal. He had a girlfriend when he was about seventeen, soon after that he found out she was pregnant. He thought his life was over, his grades were A’s and there was no sport he wasn’t good at. He took the responsibility on as a challenge and asked his girlfriend to be his wife. He was looking for weeks, then when he finally got a job at the Burlington Coat Factory in the local mall he celebrated by going on a hunt for a cheap apartment. He was working, going to school, and raising a child. Five years ago he got a job with the state, now after those five years he is almost at the top of the payroll; showing me that hard work really does pay off. Now he resides in a rich neighborhood up the road fifteen minutes away, in a big house and he has three kids. He has fought through every struggle. At the time I could barely grasp what all this meant, but now when I look back at all that he has been through I struggle to pick my mouth up off the floor.

Now that I’m sixteen I can understand all of his struggles and how hard it must have been juggling school, work, and a child. I look back and realize how much he has done for his family and our family. My real dad left our family when I was 4 years old since that day; my brother has stepped up and acted as a father to me, helping me through every problem I present him. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for me, and I feel the same way about him. Sometimes I wish I could just go back in time and tell him everyday how much he means to me and how much I appreciate all that he has done for me. I will be making it a little more clear to him how much I love and respect him from now on. I believe that a hero is someone who steps up in a frantic time and someone that won’t buckle under all the weight of responsibility.