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In the midst of battle, we aim to be heroes. Yet, what is a hero?

Marvel would have us think heroes have super powers and choose to save the world at their own detriment.

Yet, I have been told that I must first look after myself before I try to “save” anyone else. 

The idea of hero is coupled with the idea of saving someone or something. A hero saves the day, the person or the animal.

Sometimes to save someone, we have to make personal sacrifices both small and large. That sacrifice might be sharing half of the sandwich you bought with someone else.

It might be spending more of your personal time helping someone else change a tire. Or it could mean you risk your life going back into a burning building to save a life.

We all make sacrifices for family, friends or work, but when do those sacrifices make us a hero?

According to the Google dictionary, a hero is “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”

So, not only does a hero need to be someone willing to make sacrifices to save someone else from something, they must also exhibit courage, “noble qualities” and do something outstanding.

That may mean that the little sacrifices that we make may not qualify us for “hero status.”

In the TV series Heroes, Hiro Nakamura, played by Masi Oka, seeks to be a hero and believes in the impossible is possible. He thinks through each of his actions and seeks the actions that will make him like the heroes he reads about in comic books.

For me, the idea of a hero may not be a flashy as Marvel might make them out to be. A hero is someone who never gives up; someone who does believe in the impossible, and accepts when the impossible is unachievable.

A hero in our world has to be both realistic and idealistic. He or she must be honest – an honorable quality – dauntless, empathetic, stern, determined.

In addition to all of that, a hero also needs to know when to walk away, and let the situation follow its own course.

I don’t think all heroes are in the business of saving others. Some are in the business of helping others save themselves.

That said, I think we need all kinds of heroes in our world – those that are saving lives while risking their own lives, and those that help people learn to save themselves, and all those people in between who demonstrate those noble qualities of heroism. 

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