Several years ago I told my dad that he was my hero. When I think of him, I think of someone who tells it like he sees it, even if what he says isn’t popular or politically correct. I think of someone who would literally expend his last ounce of energy or spend his last dollar to help someone in need. I think of someone with integrity. If he tells you he will do something, you can take it to the bank. It will be done.
He expects the same from others. If you tell him you will be at the farm to do some work on a certain day and time, then you’d better be there. He expects that, but he has been burned enough times to know he won’t usually get the same respect in return.
It’s also fair to say that my mom is as much a hero to me as my dad. She works hard and always has. She gives to others with no thought of getting anything in return. She is an amazing person (not to mention a wonderful cook).
Case in point… Yesterday was Mom’s 78th birthday. Mom and Dad are both very active, going to the YMCA each morning to walk several miles on a treadmill, working their 60-acre farm, taking care of a huge, pre-Civil War home. If anyone deserves a break on her birthday, it’s Mom. Yet when I called to wish her happy birthday Sunday afternoon, they were visiting a friend who recently suffered a stroke. They had just finished eating out after church where they treated another friend who was recently widowed. Following the current friend visit, they were headed to another hospital to visit another seriously ill friend. All of these visits were in the next city about 25 miles from home.
When I hung up the phone I marveled at their generosity.
Too many unworthy people become heroes – celebrities, for example, lacking character. Meanwhile, people like Mom and Dad sometimes go unnoticed as they truly make the world a better place.
Leap year lesson #44 is Choose your hero wisely. Make sure he or she is worthy of the name.