armstrongI was planning to write a post about Lance Armstrong, but you know what? I decided that the media can handle that story…he’s not worthy of any more mention on my site than what I’ve just given him.

Instead, I have decided to take this post in a different direction.

What are athletes or celebrities? They’re good at what they do, but then so am I good at what I do. I’m a secretary, and I’m good at it. I’m a writer, and (I think) I’m good at that too. I’m a mom, and I know I’m good at that. I’m a wife, and I’m good at that too. But not one of those things defines who I am. I am all of those things and so much more, and all of those things help to build my character, my integrity, and my personality. Who I am and how I am regarded by others depends largely on those things, and the same is true of everyone.

Are athletes and celebrities really to be put up on a pedestal and seen as superior beings to us – simply because they’re faster or stronger or better at their talent than the rest of us? Maybe, maybe not. But that person on the pedestal is more than just a celebrity, and their actions and words, what they do with their fame and fortune, how they treat the people they come in contact with – all of those things are a far better measure of their worth than all the medals, trophies, or awards on their shelves.

firefightersAre they heroes? Maybe some of them are, but probably for something other than their skills in sports or the arts. What is a hero? Really. Firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel, soldiers – in my eyes, all of them are heroes. Sure, it’s their job to do the things they do, but how many people do you know that run into burning buildings or put themselves in the middle of gunfights or race into the midst of dangerous accident sites in the ordinary course of their “jobs”? And what about the regular Joe who is driving along the highway and comes upon the scene of an automobile accident, pulls to the side of the road, throws open his door, rolls up his sleeve and offers assistance, even though he’s just an accountant or a janitor or even unemployed? Is he a hero? Absolutely.

A role model doesn’t have to be a celebrity or a famous athlete. A hero doesn’t need to be famous or wealthy. My boss, one of the leaders in the science of reproductive medicine, is a hero and a role model. My uncles, both firefighters, are heroes and role models. My cousin who lost his life in Vietnam and my late father-in-law who stormed the beach at Normandy during World War II; they were heroes.

We put so much focus on the fast and the famous that sometimes we lose site of what we should really be valuing.

Here are a few more examples of heroes and role models, at least in my eyes:

conner-cayden-longAnonymous Note Posted on a Restroom Wall
This Meal is On Us
9-Year-Old Helps Disabled Brother Finish Triathlons
Man Gives His House to Homeless Family
The Recycled Orchestra
Cop Gives Panhandling Man His Boots

Those are the stories we should be seeing on the news, more so than which celebrity is sleeping with or divorcing or cheating on which other celebrity, which athlete is doping or lying about it, etc.

We live in a world where news can travel around the planet in mere seconds, and yet there are far too few of the stories like those linked above that are as widespread as the more “sensational” news stories about celebrities, athletes, and tragedies.

It’s time for us to wake up!

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