Why do we have heroes?
Heroes serve to be an example and a standard. They help us to understand our humanity and the heights that a person can achieve. When we look at the Battle of Thermopylae and see what 300 brave Spartans were capable of doing, we learn what power culture and heroes can have. It has been said that when Spartan mothers gave their sons their shield the mother’s would exhort them with this phrase, “Son, either with or on this” (1). Meaning that they came home carrying their shields or on them because Spartans were one of the bravest and most formidable fighting groups in history. Why do we even know this story? Why has it been retold over and over again? Here we are in 2014 and recently that have been 2 movies made about this single battle and the events surrounding it. I purpose that we know about it because of the lessons it taught the Spartans (and other Greeks) and the impressive feat these men pulled off … Hence a powerful example of Heroes.
Let’s look to a more recent event in history September 11th, 2001, while we could focus on the whole of the events. I want to look at the firefighters and police officers that responded on the scene. There are countless stories of firefighters and cops running up stairs after getting people out. Back and forth they went leading people to safety. A total of 414 emergency workers died in their attempts to save the lives of those working in Towers One and Two (2). Men who ran into the face of danger knowing at any minute death could fall on them. Men who loved others enough to lay down their own life to save another. I have already told my boys about 9/11 and every year we talk about it. I shared the story of what happened. I told them about Todd Beamer and his wiliness to rally others to protect the lives of other Americans (3). I want them to know that you can be scared and still face danger. I want them to know that they can choose their own heroes and they should choose men and women who inspire them.
What purpose do heroes serve in society and why are they important?
Heroes inspire us and that is why we need them. We have to look for them in the men and women at church, in school, in history, and hopefully in our neighborhoods. Heroes are not just the stuff of legend, they can and quite frequently are everyday men and women that stand out larger than life because they stand on principle. They stand despite circumstance or the latest fancies. Their lives tell a story that will lift others up and cause them to stand straighter and work harder. I know that my heroes have inspired me and I try to provide heroes for my sons so that they can understand what type of men I expect them to grow up to be. I use the example of heroes to help them develop and build their own ideals and desires. I want my sons to be men of principle and honor. I want them to value integrity more then money, fame, sex, or drugs. I want them to become productive members of society to build it up and strengthen it. It would be my proudest moment to see my sons become better men than I am. Faithful, honorable, and immovable from the time honored values and traditions I am teaching them.
- Did Spartan mothers really tell their sons, “With your shield or on it?”; SDSTAFF Una.
- Emergency Workers killed in the September 11 attacks; Wikipedia.
- Todd Beamer; Wikipedia.