Here in Barbados, in honour of our national heroes, we celebrate National Heroes Day annually, on the 28th of April. Ten outstanding Barbadians would have written their names on history’s page, with expectations great; way before our National Anthem had been penned.
These heroes would have lived lives worth remembering, worth recognising and worthy of the title bestowed upon them. But what really is a hero? Could I become a hero? If so, what do I do to become a hero?
A hero is formally defined as a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character; a person who, in the opinion of others, has special achievements, abilities, or personal qualities and is regarded as a role model or ideal.
What I find interesting about these definitions, is that a hero is defined by the observations or opinions of someone other than ourselves. And although we may not acknowledge it, whether we like it or not, we are being observed and persons are forming opinions of us. Are our actions courageous? Can our characters be defined as noble? Can we be considered a role model?
As parents, we need to be mindful that there are some very important persons watching us, forming opinions of us, and possibly looking to us as heroes. They’re paying attention to details, looking at our achievements, directly affected by our personal qualities and are moulding their lives after ours.
By now I’m sure that you have guessed who these VIP’s are. The little people we brought into this world. Our children. But will we be considered heroes through their eyes?
Like the heroes of our land, our lives need to be worth remembering, worth recognising and worthy of the title of ‘Hero’. Can we become a hero in their eyes? Yes we can. However, what do I have to do for my child(ren) to view me as a hero?
This needs to be a deliberate act. Making conscious decisions in every way. Parenting is not something that we can allow to just happen. We must always be mindful of the decisions we make.
On our way home from school on the last day of the term, I was a victim of a ZR driver’s road rage. I was very upset especially with the kids in the vehicle. He put my life and more importantly, their lives at risk. He then proceeded to curse me.
By all accounts he was wrong and I was right. In that moment I was faced with a decision. I had a choice. What kind of example would I be setting for my little people? Did they even notice what transpired?
What happens next would be a determining factor of how they view their mother. Whether the ZR driver was wrong or right did not matter to them. My character hung in the balance. Then and there I had to make that conscious decision to exhibit nobility of character.
I wanted to react in my anger, my response was to just let it go. When I glanced at my kids I could only thank God that we were all safe and unharmed. When I think about how a loud outburst of anger would’ve destroyed the peace in our vehicle and also tarnished my superhero cape.
In retrospect, although unbeknownst to them, I saved the day. The other option was really not an option as their role model. It is the combination of these daily choices which makes us Heroes.
Take Noah for example. He is considered one of the greatest heroes in the Bible. After all, mankind continued to exist because of him. He was handpicked by God. Not because he was handsome, not because he was rich, but because he was upright.
“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” – Genesis 6: 6-9
Noah found grace in the eyes of God. We know the series of events all too well in the book of Genesis from Chapter 6 to Chapter 9, which gives an account of his story. Because of his character, grace was also extended to his family.
Imagine that! Such privilege received, for not just him, but his family in the midst of God’s grief. One can only try to fathom the work that went into the building of the ark. Dedication, persistence, patience, obedience, self-control and the list can go on.
These hallmark qualities defined Noah, our hero. He was the ideal in God’s eyes. He literally saved his family’s lives and ours as well. Noah’s DECISION to remain just in the midst of wickedness is what set him apart.
As parents we too have a choice. All these choices however, may not be a matter of choosing right over wrong or good over evil. Considering the correlation between our reputation in the eyes of our little people and their future or fate, choosing to include them is just as important.
They need to see us succeed. Seeing is believing right?
Sometimes we may need to flash our superhero signal, stand in our superhero costumes with the cape blowing in the wind, in our best superhero pose. Sharing our experiences is vital and can also make a tremendous difference in their lives.
I remember sitting with my daughter who is eight years old and reviewing her September-December school report. I was not pleased with her progress. Although she did well, I knew she was capable of better
I shared with her my achievements when I was her age at primary school,
identifying with the challenges she faces at this stage of her life. I was also able to share my report book which also encouraged her.
She even dreamt subsequently that she was first in her class. By the end of this January to April term, I saw a remarkable improvement. My special achievement back then as valedictorian had made me a hero and role model in her eyes.
At the point where I took on the challenge of my end of term examinations, showing my daughter my report book and being her hero was never even a conceived thought. Being a hero is the end result yes, but it isn’t the goal in the moment.
If we were afforded the opportunity to interview any of our National Heroes or all of the greats worldwide, would they have said my goal in life is to become a hero? Indeed not. Conscious decisions were made daily to fulfill a burning desire to make a difference and to be better. To make a difference not only for themselves but for the future.
May we also be focused on every decision made to become one step closer to making a difference. May our children look on and see a hero in us. In so doing, they will not have to seek a role model elsewhere.
No matter how big or small your actions may be, as a parent, grandparent or even an uncle, aunt or older sibling; these very important and might I add very impressionable little people of ours are watching.
Be noble! Be courageous! Be the ideal! Choose to Be a HERO!
Happy Heroes Day to you parents. I salute you because you already are a hero!
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Deborah Walrond is a daughter, a sister and a mother of two children. She is a teacher by profession, who has a love for baking, cooking, reading, writing, the beach and appreciates all types of exercising. Deborah loves interacting with people, with a particular passion for children. With God at the forefront of her life, anything that follows after is well done.