The kid who stands up to a bully on a playground and the man who almost loses his arm catching a child falling from the third story; the mother who lifts a car off of her son and the little girl who steps up to perform CPR on a senior citizen having a heart attack while others just stare. These people all have one thing in common. They are heroes to the people around them. Heroes are not people who possess some superpower, as people often assume, but rather people who have a personality that doesn’t allow them to stand idle while others suffer. So why are these people’s personalities so . . . heroic? Perhaps it is due to how they were raised and the values of their families, or maybe it is simply a case of being more empathetic than most.
People often attempt to instill admirable qualities in their children. I tend to notice, however, that the ones who don’t preach but also practice these qualities have the most success. The children of these upstanding citizens are the ones who become heroes. A child who volunteers with his or her parents at a homeless shelter is, as a teenager, more likely to step up to assist a homeless person in need than the child of the parents who cusses them out at a stoplight. Even parents who do not often go out of their way to help people in need, but are accepting of them as opposed to being hostile may raise children who become advocates for those less fortunate than they. It takes a hero to stand up and go against the grain of society. The values of the family one grows up with, as well as that family’s attitude toward society, greatly influence whether or not a youth learns that qualities that make a hero.
Sometimes, however, it is not the family that one grew up with that influenced them to do deeds that label them as heroes. From time to time, a hero emerges simply because they have been, or know someone who has been, in a similar situation. The man who nearly lost his arm catching a seven year old autistic girl who jumped from third story window says that his only thought was, “What if I don’t catch her?” He worried about how if it was his daughter, who was also seven at the time, he would pray that someone would catch her. Having empathy can play a big role in whether or not a person decides to become a hero. Even people who are not generally considerate of other’s may step up and become a hero if they can visualize themselves or their loved ones in the situation. The child who stands up to a bully on the playground might do so because they don’t like being bullied, and so they believe no one should be bullied. That same child might also be standing up to the bully because their father is a cop and does not condone cruelty to others. The woman who lifts a car off of her son may be able to do so simply because she wouldn’t wish to be stuck under the car herself, or because her parents taught her unconditional love, which she in turn developed for her son. Sara Broski, who performed CPR to save a woman’s life, may have done so because she would want someone to save her life. Sara also may have done it because, as her father taught her, “. . . feel that (Sara’s actions) shouldn’t be the exception. That (being willing to help others) should be the norm.”
Not all people have the necessary qualities to become heroes, but those who do have been taught to help others by those around them. People who put others before themselves do so because they would want help in the same situations. Heroes have no super powers, just super personalities that will not allow them to stand idle while others are in need of assistance.