07-14-18 Cassandra O’Leary

Friday, March 18, 2016

Who Is My Hero?

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of scifi that engages the emotions. When I saw the topic for this month's posts, I went blank. Hero is a word overused in the modern world and often for things I don't regard in the least bit heroic. I see it used a lot for sports personalities, for example. Frankly, I don't see a footballer as a hero in the true sense of the word. Someone kicking a ball around a field for 90 minutes or less for several grand, often shouting abuse and spitting? Not heroic. Someone who runs 26.5 miles in a rubber rhino suit to raise money for charity? Now that's heroic!

Hero (from dictionary.com):
noun, plural heroes
a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.
a person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal:
He was a local hero when he saved the drowning child.
the principal male character in a story, play, film, etc.
Classical Mythology.
a being of godlike prowess and beneficence who often came to be honored as a divinity.
(in the Homeric period) a warrior-chieftain of special strength, courage, or ability.
(in later antiquity) an immortal being; demigod.

I've never really had an iconic real life hero or heroine. Is that bad? To me, it's the unnamed and often forgotten day to day heroes who deserve recognition. The ones who risk their lives in the emergency services saving others, and helping to keep us safe, like the ambulance crew who rushed out to me when I had a panic attack while heavily pregnant and suffering from a chest infection. The carers and the teachers. The volunteers who work at shelters for the homeless or for injured or abandoned animals. The soldiers who fight to defend those who can't defend themselves. Those who stand up for the rights of others despite the abuse or physical attacks. Hundreds of people whose names may never be known.

But in my small, everyday life, my husband is my hero because there are some days when he saves my sanity if not my life. He's the guy who, three months after first starting to date me, stayed by my side and held my hand when my mum died when I was just nineteen. He's been there through three pregnancies with me, including medical complications and an emergency Caesarean with our first child, and one miscarriage. And even though when I first started writing and he thought it was just a pipe dream, he's now the one that gives me a hug when I have my bad days and reminds me how far I've come and what I've accomplished.

He might not fit anyone else's definition of a hero, but he does for me, and he provides the background inspiration for so many of my own fictional heroes who would do anything for their loved ones and family, and heroines who would do the same.
7th May, 1993


Judith Ashley said...

I'm a little teary after reading your post, Pippa. I would certainly put your husband in the 'hero' category.

While overall I totally agree with you about sports personalities and would add entertainment, some of them do good works - they take those thousands/millions of pounds/dollars and create foundations that do good works. Of course their escapades make headlines more than their foundations do.

Pippa Jay said...


Oh, yeah, many do good works off the field, but when their game play is referred to as heroic, I wince a little. Maybe if they were struggling against an injury (but then I'd consider that a tad foolish rather than heroic). :P

Maggie Lynch said...

You do have a heroic husband. That is, IMO, what the marriage vows promise, but not everyone keeps to the promise. I agree with you about the concept of "hero" should not be used for athletes who make a great play in a game, any more than for the secretary who types accurately or the manager who is good at her job. But maybe that is what the world needs right now--examples of everyday heroes who do what is expected of them and do it well.

In addition to people who put their life on the line, like Firefighters, Police, Soldiers, Perhaps we should herald as a"hero" any man or woman who goes out of their way to put a little light in the world. That could include something as small as opening a door for someone to giving a hug to a stranger who needs it, and even offering a smile. Hero's who donate money and time to help others and don't ask for any recognition or something in return.

I am particularly reminded of a need for these everyday heroic actions so that they can counteract all the stupidity and anger in the world. I used to believe that these "heroic" actions were the ones all of us knew and practiced regularly because it is the expectation of a good citizen. However, lately it seems that too many people are quick to anger and to blame others instead of looking to be helpful.

Thanks for this thoughtful post.