Cousin Craig’s Odd Viewpoint –
Superheroes—what are they? A person who can fly and bend steel or who has abilities beyond those of mere mortals might be considered super, for sure, but a hero? Bravery is not the lack of fear; it is overcoming fear. I have been a comic book fan for many years, and, while I enjoy these stories, some of my heroes are not gifted with super physical or mental abilities. They are people with normal abilities who do the impossible.
First on my list are parents. Every second of every day, without a break, they put someone else’s needs ahead of their needs. Often, this is in spite of intense resentment. The treatment of a good parent is at best tolerated and at worst fought against. By the time they become interesting people, kids may want nothing to do with the parents who raised them. A hero is a person who does the things they do without reward, in spite of what is easy, for the betterment of others and the world at large. Parents fit that description.
Parents are a hard act to follow, but let’s not forget police officers, fire fighters, and military personnel. These people put their lives on the line to protect us. I know someone is maybe thinking that they knew a cop once who was an asshole. Maybe someone abused their power or took advantage, or maybe one of these people, at the critical moment, failed to sacrifice themselves. Make no mistake, those few are the exceptions. Imagine everyday fighting a foe without a face, a location, or even a specific definition and having to decide what to do in situations you can never be trained for. In the case of the police, they are often outmanned and outgunned. The military has to play by a different set of rules than our enemies do, and soldiers are held to impossible standards. Our fire fighters are pitted against a mindless foe that is unpredictable and heartless. These individuals aren’t bulletproof, and they’re not perfect—which is what makes them heroes.
While the next group rarely needs to put their lives on the line, they fight a battle every day. I am talking about teachers, who are confronted on every side with bureaucracy, intolerance, limited supplies and funds, and, worst of all, indifference. In what way are these people not heroes? They provide knowledge and experience to our children without much help or many tools. Once again, I hear the naysayers clearing their throats because their PE teacher got their friend pregnant or their biology teacher just didn’t care or maybe their English teacher was just way too strict and gave them a B instead of an A. I can’t argue the specifics because everyone has different experiences, but, taken as a whole, these folks are fighting a battle against all odds and are the best adult role models and sources of discipline many children have in their lives. And when it’s all over and it comes time to count the wins and losses, very few teachers will know how many lives they have touched in a positive way, but every loss will be vividly remembered.
What a world it would be if we could give these people super abilities. Soldiers who didn’t have to fear being shot. Teachers who could grade all papers, do their lesson plans, and have lives of their own and still always be perfectly fair and honest and right in class every day. Parents whose children could be given true perspective on why it is best if they just do as they are told. Unfortunately, cosmic rays and radiation don’t give you super abilities; they give you cancer. There is no serum to make you stronger, and you’re not likely to receive a magic ring from an alien. You only have the weak hand you were born with and a few chips on the table, and the game is long. So here’s to the heroes of the world, everywhere to be seen but often unnoticed. Let’s appreciate them and, when possible, be one ourselves.
Who is your hero?
Odd Loves Company,