There are certain days when you rediscover your heroes. For me, today was one of those days. It started at about 3:00 AM this morning when my mom texted me that the island that my dad was visiting in the Philippines was hit by an earthquake with a 6.8 magnitude. Naturally, I freaked out. I was shit scared, until my mind cleared up and I reread the message. My dad was in the epicenter of the earthquake, but was safe.
Alright, cool. I was sleepy, so I went back to bed. I woke up a couple of hours later thinking about it. My dad was on a medical mission there, helping people with their eyesight in a remote area of the Philippines. But due to the disaster, he’s now working with the trauma unit at the local hospital. And they’re working out in the parking lot outside of the hospital because the structure of actual hospital building is no longer safe. And then I came to a realization. Holy shit! My dad is a hero.
It’s one of those strange phenomenon that has come full cycle. You see, because when you’re a young boy, your hero is almost always your dad. He is all knowing and powerful. He can fix shit. He can chop wood and make fires. He can drive cars. He knows all the answers to your homework. And then there comes a time when you start to realize that your dad maybe isn’t the hero you thought he was. Maybe he isn’t awesome at everything. I remember that time very distinctly in my mind. I was around 10 years old and my parents had just gotten me a skateboard. My dad was trying to show me how to use it, at which point he tried to skate down a little hill in our driveway. He bailed, messed up his hand and swore profusely. And that was the point that I realized maybe he wasn’t the hero I thought he was.
But now he is again. And he has been for a while. He’s no longer the hero that you expect to solve all your problems for you. But he is the type of hero to guide and support you in what you’re doing. He is the type of hero that inspires. Sometimes he does it by kind acts. Sometimes he does it by listening. Sometimes he does it by saving lives. Sometimes he does it by calling you out on your bullshit. But he’s a hero. He makes a difference. He inspires. And he makes the people around him better.
When I in high school, trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up, my dad and I had a long conversation. We talked about doctors being heroes. They saved lives! Who wouldn’t want to be able to do that? But, my father brought up the fact that doctors can only save one life at a time. There’s a limit to the scale of what they can accomplish with their hands. However, creativity has the potential to save millions of lives. By challenging the system or solving a difficult problem, creative thinkers can change the world. They can improve the quality of life. They can make technology easily accessible to all. They can pull down repressive governments regimes. They can rally and inspire billions.
To think that we are unable to be heroic is foolish. It doesn’t take exceptional skill, intelligence or passion. All it takes is consideration, thoughtfulness and action. We all have the potential to be heroic. The key is to perform actions that inspire others.