What is a hero? What defines a hero?
Most of our youth today grow up thinking that money, fame, and power define what it is to be a hero. The truth is – out of all the heroes I admire – not one of them drives a Rolls-Royce.
In fact, the types of heroes I’m referring to are the ones you never seem to hear about. You never learn their names. They have very little political power. So what makes them so heroic?
The fact that these people do amazing work that changes lives without asking for (or caring about) any of the world’s common reward systems is what makes these people true heroes. These people just do good things and ask for nothing in return for their deeds.
Here are a few examples of people I consider real-life heroes…
I’m almost certain these people want no attention. But they are true heroes, and as such, I’ll use any chance I get to sing their praises.
Gorilla caretaker at the Virunga park Congo. If you get the chance, you might enjoy the documentary on Netflix by the same name. His passion for helping the gorillas is infectious, his mission is clear and my admiration for such a man could not be more.
Runs Homeboys Inc. which is a business that helps give felons a shot at a new life through entrepreneurship. Father Boyle believes that bringing business and charity into the same sentence is the key to being an efficient and impactful program.
It’s truly scary that the decisions we make during our teens can have an everlasting impact on our lives. Those with little guidance or who are raised in bad areas can only really roll the dice. Father Boyle gives these people a second chance at life.
This man had it all. Or at least everything the world tells you that you need in order to be happy. He was a Hollywood mogul who was part of massive movie productions like Braveheart and Titanic. He had the houses, the fame, the cars–everything. However, a trip to Cambodia changed everything for him. He came home and sold everything. Then he started a charity called Cambodian Children’s Fund.
If you ask me, these are true heroes of the world. Can you imagine how much better the world would be if our kids were raised seeing these heroics of these people?
I pose this major question:
Why do we glamorize those who do so little for the world?
We vote with our attention instead of giving that attention to the selfless people who do amazing heart-felt work. We give the latest sports star or musician our attention by caring about who they are dating or how fancy their houses are.
There is a quote from one of my heroes, Andre Bauma, that gives me goosebumps: “You gotta be about something in life…and I’m about the gorilla”. He theorizes that whatever you do in this world, to be a hero you simply need to justify why you are on this earth and act on that. For Andre? it’s gorillas: “gorillas justify why I am here, they are my life.”
What if our kids grew up looking up to real heroes like Andre Bauma, Father Boyle, or Scott Neeson? What might the world look like then?