Hero vs Celebrity

After further examination of yesterday’s definitions, I’m further disappointed by the lack of regard for the silent heroes.  Why must there be “special” achievement or “feats” “especially” when a life is risked?  Is a teenager choosing to care for an eldery person at the expense of free time not a hero?  Is a teacher who spends every evening ensuring that her students will have only the best not a hero?

The notion that a person acknowledged for great achievement in a field is a hero troubles me.  The modern world’s tight focus on celebrity ensures that those people with celebrity status are at the forefront of the public’s thoughts on heroes.  This, coupled with the achievement definition, creates an environment where sports stars are worshipped as heroes.

Is a hero more than that?  I believe character is at the core of the true definition of the word hero.  A hero understands the nature of responsibility, has a respect for the importance of others, helps others, does amazing things, and accepts life’s quest.

Is the star football player a hero?  Maybe.  Does he respect his team mates?  What does he do off the field?  Does he understand that he is a role model and has a responsibility?  Has he learned Spiderman’s lesson?  “With great power there must also come — great responsibility!”  Or does he demand more money from his team, more plays centered around him, more media exposure?

It is vital that our children (and our peers) understand that celebrities are not heroes because we know who they are or because they’ve excelled in their field.  They can be heroes through their actions and exhibited character.  Keep an eye out for that rare type of celebrity.

4 Responses to Hero vs Celebrity

  1. Elizabeth Alapo April 16, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    Matt Langdon what an inspiring Essay about heroes i learnt a thing or two from it. Teenagers and Teachers are heros arent they.

  2. Matt Langdon April 16, 2009 at 1:23 pm #

    Thanks Elizabeth. Everyone is the hero of their own story and teachers become heroes to so many people over their careers – it’s a hugely under appreciated fact.


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