the death of heroism

Are you a hero?

By today’s standards, you may very well be.

The modern day hero is the father who is there for his family. He’s the husband who stays faithful to his wife. The person who puts others before himself. The girl who has a crazy idea to help other people instead of simply elevating her own status. The student who raises money for the homeless. The single mother who raises two kids all on her own.

Are these people good people? Yes. Should we admire them? Yes.

Why are they seen as heroes?

Because they are no longer the norm.

We have gotten to the point where we think so little of ourselves and what we can accomplish, that someone who reaches just a tad further than the average person is a hero. 100 years from now, people will be reading about these heroes, watching movies about them. Poor future.

I grew up watching William Wallace take on England, Maximus Decimus Meridius take on the Roman Emperor in the Gladiator. I watched Rambo take on army’s, I read about Joseph being sold as a slave by his brothers, then rising to the height of power in Egypt. Heroes of the past are heroes in the truest sense of the word.

They are exceptional. They succeeded when society failed, like Gary Cooper. They took the law into their own hands when no one else would like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

Think back, way back. The soldier wasn’t the one who was given a heroes status. He was simply doing what was expected of him. It was David, the boy who killed Goliath when thousands of soldiers – grown men†at that -†were too afraid to stand up and fight, who was seen as a hero.

The men and women who weren’t there fighting for their freedom and for their nation aren’t even mentioned. The soldier’s who failed to do the extraordinary aren’t even mentioned.

William Wallace’s story has stood time’s test because he stood up against tyranny against impossible odds in the face of certain death. He wasn’t the only one who hated it. He wasn’t the only one negatively effected by it. But he WAS the one who rallied his countrymen to fight against it.

The average soldier isn’t mentioned because being a soldier was just something you do. Fast forward to today, and being a solider, a loving husband, or a real man isn’t the norm. It truly IS extraordinary.

Braveheart. Gladiator. Rambo. Tombstone. The Alamo.

No longer is it the one, strong hero that does something that no other man had the balls to do. Now it’s the soldier, the cop, the father, the mother, the brother, the husband, even the criminal doing one last job to save his family (too many movies to count) who are simply doing their job that are seen as heroic.

Do I like those stories? Ya I love the movies. I loved ‘The Town’, great movie. But none of those are heroes. Neither is The Wrestler or The Fighter. I love the movies. I admire the men. But they aren’t heroes even though they have been glorified as such.

So few of us do what should be expected of us…

It’s to the point where doing what’s expected of us is heroic. What’s EXPECTED OF US today isn’t even all that tough, especially compared to previous generations. It’s understandable if a man doesn’t take care of his family. If he crumbles under the pressure and becomes an alcoholic. We give these failures excuses. We give ourselves a free pass. An escape.

We don’t need an excuse. We need accountability, leadership, and we need consequences. Immediate ones.

So us, the few, the one’s who want to be REAL heroes. The men (and women) who want to do something great, to impact the lives of millions. Who want to be the person that is considered today’s hero, but live this way everyday of our lives…

What can we do?

Raise our expectations.

You’re EXPECTED to succeed. You’re EXPECTED to take care and provide for your family. You’re EXPECTED to die for them daily.

We do this because it is what’s expected of us. It isn’t heroism. Heroism isn’t a label we search for. We search to live the best life we can possibly live. Others that are doing the same thing, are simply good, hard working people.

A hero? If the moment ever comes when we are called into truly extraordinary action, then we’ll see what we’re made of. But don’t give us a pat on the back for being there for our friends, family, or even for those we don’t know. Don’t applaud us for thinking of others before ourselves. Don’t reward us for being a man, dammit!

It should be expected, should it not?

Next time: Do you deserve what you want?

It’s an important question to ask. Instead of looking for a reward, ask if you truly deserve one… But more on that in a few days.