Obstacles in Heroism: Everyday Hero Part 3

It’s hard to be there for others when stifled by self-doubt. We could find ourselves believing that we’re not ENOUGH to be an everyday hero. It’s simply not true.

The other day I was reading an interview in the Atlanta Journal Constitution with former first lady Rosalynn Carter. She turned 90 on August 18th and is still quite active with a legacy of advocacy and do-gooding that would put anyone to shame.

I did a backtrack when I read this in the article, “I turned 50, and I thought that was really bad.” She was turning 50 and living in the White House. In that moment, it didn’t matter that she lived in the most powerful house in the United States. Self-doubt can hit anyone, anywhere.

I was reminded of how vulnerable we are to our own thoughts. The messages that run through our minds that can limit us.

I do it. Rosalynn Carter did it. You probably do it too.

In the interview, the former first lady said she wish she could go back to reassure her younger self “that you can have a full life after 50.” There are bad messages that play in our heads that tell us we aren’t  enough–young enough, smart enough, or maybe even wealthy enough.

That’s the rub I want to uncover.

It’s hard to be there for others when stifled by self-doubt. We could find ourselves believing that we’re not ENOUGH to be an everyday hero. It’s simply not true.

Years ago, when I was in my first job as an HR Manager, I was going through a crazy time at work. On the way to the office one morning, I stopped to get some hot, fresh donuts. One of my co-workers stopped by my office later that day and asked me if I had a new boyfriend. “No,” I said. “I just wanted to do something nice for everybody.”

While that quick stop to the donut shop did nothing to help our waistlines that day, it made me forget all about the craziness around me. I was pleased to see everyone gathered around the donut boxes, chatting and laughing. I’m sure they forgot about some of their troubles for a moment too.

There will be obstacles to being an everyday hero.

Sometimes you won’t feel like helping. Sometimes you may not have the time or means to help. Don’t let the word EVERYDAY get in your way. It doesn’t mean that you are “saving the day” all the time. Everyday could mean every now and then for you. Remember that a little here and a little there go a long, long way.

I keep reminding myself I am enough. You are enough to be an everyday hero too.

Is there something getting in your way of saving the day? Is there a bad message playing that you need to turn off?

Cereal Heroism: Everyday Hero Part 2

“Oh, Mommy, I love these cereal,” Jessa mushed. “Are all these new cereal for us?”

“Nope. These are for the food drive at church,” I replied.

“It’s already time for it?” she questioned.

“Not yet,” I explained. “They were on sale. I got these cereal so we could start saving them.”

“Mmmm, they really look good. Are they ones I can eat?”

“Let me check the ingredients,” I answered relunctantly.

As I scanned the ingredients panel, I realized that none of Jessa’s allergens were listed. But my mind was also whirling. Should I tell her she couldn’t have the cereal or just add them to the pantry for her to enjoy later. The food drive is months away and I had plenty of time to catch more sales.

“You know, Jessa. There is nothing bad in these that you can’t have. But these cereal are not for us. We’re gonna save these for kids who don’t have cereal to eat at home. I’ll keep buying more and we’ll have a lot of them to give away.”

I watched her face go from slight disappointment to understanding. “Yeah, she said. That will be good.”

And this is how simple acts of heroism start. No, we will not be resolving the hunger crisis by donating cereal at our church’s annual food drive. But we will be making a difference in our community; showing up for children that we will never know. I loved this teachable moment that demonstrated to Jessa how to be there for someone even if it might be a little inconvenient for you.

Last week, I started a four-part series exploring what it means to be an everyday hero. In our culture, heroes are often acknowledged as people who do big, out-of-the-ordinary things. In my mind, heroism is about being there to help those who need it. Big deeds or small ones.

It’s a lesson that is never too early to impart. This summer, while the adults sat in “big church” learning about everyday heroes, the girls learned the same lesson at their own level. There was even a comic book with lessons about doing the right thing and how you can show up to save the day.

If we continue having these everyday hero conversations enough, good seeds will be planted and flourish. Our children will grow up knowing that they have the ability to change things and make a big difference for someone else.

Even with something as simple as a box of cereal.



What is an Everyday Hero?

This is the first post in a four-week series about being an “everyday hero.”

After watching a series about this topic at church this summer, I started to personalize the idea and think about what the term “everyday hero” means to me.

When this four-part series is complete, I hope you have a clear thought of what the term means for you.

Like many children of the 70’s, I grew up enamored with the power and strength of superheroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. When these shows were on, my brother and sister and I were glued to the TV. There was yelling when the bad guy had the upper hand and attempts to duplicate the moves of our heroes.

A hero is someone who sees a need and meets it. It’s as simple as that.

Of course I was partial to Wonder Woman because well, she’s a woman. Each episode of the show followed a general format; heroine faces problem, heroine gets in tight spot, heroin triumphs. No matter what problem surfaced, Wonder Woman saved the day at the end of the hour.

Movie goers world-wide proved this summer that there is still great love for heroes. Wonder Woman was revamped and soared in earnings as a summer blockbuster.

The story line of the current Wonder Woman has changed some from the original version, but the goal is the same–to save the day.

How awesome would it be to have someone swoop in and save the day for you? Forget saving the day, can someone please just come and get dinner on the table for my family?

In movies, saving the day typically involves a villain or a perilous end and a need to make things right. Don’t we already do that in our lives? When you help a friend or give a donation, aren’t you in some way making things right? Do I dare say it, doesn’t that help save the day?

One thing I took away from the summer series from church was a new definition of hero. Forget about super powers and magic lassos, although those could come in handy. Think real. Think everyday.

A hero is someone who sees a need and meets it. It’s as simple as that. When I started to view things with that lens, I started to think about all the heroes that I know. People who see a need and meet it. People who show up for me. People for whom I show up.

So, that’s what I’m thinking about this week. I love science fiction and the idea of superpowers and a group or individual who makes things right.

Since we are not able to have real superheroes, I’d like to have you think about what we can have–a hero next door, in your office or in your own mirror. Do you see it?

Do you see what I mean about “everyday hero?”