A Harris Poll conducted in August of 2001 asked Americans a number of questions about heroes. You can read about who was voted, but it’s hard to remember exactly what the mood of the nation was like pre-911. Jesus and Martin Luther King were #1 and #2. John Wayne and Michael Jordan were in the top 10. What is more valuable to us now are the major reasons people considered their heroes to be deserving of the title.
Not giving up until the goal is accomplished – 86%
Doing what’s right regardless of personal consequences – 85%
Doing more than what other people expect of them – 81%
Staying level-headed in a crisis – 79%
Overcoming adversity – 79%
Changing society for the better – 77%
Willingness to risk personal safety to help others – 72%
Commanding the support and respect of others – 72%
Not expecting personal recognition – 68%
It’s an impressive list. Someone who has all of those attributes would be a hero indeed. Let’s look at an example and score out of nine.
Not giving up until the goal is accomplished – Spent many years of her life pursuing her university education, never letting single parenthood force her to give up.
Doing what’s right regardless of personal consequences – Ensured her kids were taken care of in spite of having very little money. Her personal needs were secondary.
Doing more than what other people expect of them – This is characteristic of her work ethic, wherever she’s been.
Staying level-headed in a crisis – I never saw her panic or break down. I am sure it happened, she just did it away from us.
Overcoming adversity – Single parent with three kids on government welfare. Enough said.
Changing society for the better – She works in community education to better her society.
Willingness to risk personal safety to help others – I haven’t experienced it, but I’m sure it lies dormant, waiting for an opportunity to show itself.
Commanding the support and respect of others – Her recent work setting up a conference is example to this.
Not expecting personal recognition – Never.
9 out of 9
So, who is your hero? Which of the nine attributes do they share with other heroes?