After my recent article “Who is your ‘hero’?” was published, a reader suggested that I complete the topic by posing another question: Whose hero would “you” like to be? We may tend, in fact, to think about the people who influenced our life and neglect to realize that we, too, have a remarkable weight on the lives of our fellow human beings.
Have you ever wished to be an inspiration to the people who know you? Have you ever taken into consideration the possibility of leaving a “legacy” behind you, something “positive” that others might remember as a beautiful gift they received from you? Do you ever ponder about the impact that the way you “are” has on how you are perceived and – necessarily – judged?
If you are a parent, you should wonder about the example you are setting for your children on a daily basis. As you still remember what your father or mother used to tell you, the same will happen with your own children. If your parents raised you with words of encouragement, from which you believe your life benefited, do the same with your offspring. If, on the other hand, what happened in your family during your younger years was not totally commendable, here is a good opportunity for you to do the opposite. Sometimes parents teach you what to do, other times they teach you what “not” to do. Harsh words, excessive strictness, lack of loving manifestations, constant criticism may bring an individual to perpetuate such behavior in his new family. It should not be so, though. As not all teachers are “good” teachers, also parents may commit huge mistakes – it does not matter if consciously or unconsciously.
If you are an older brother or sister, be always aware that younger eyes are constantly fixed upon you. Your way of speaking, expressing yourself, even moving or dressing is what your siblings look up to because they have put you on a pedestal. Yes, they have, either you know it or not, either you like it or not. They tend to imitate you because, being “older”, you have a special charisma, a kind of authority that only more mature people have. They want to be like you. Do you therefore realize how important the example you set for them is?
Some professions in particular, such as teacher or doctor, imply great responsibilities. They can make you a “hero” or a “monster”. Who does not remember that “special” teacher who encouraged you, who suggested ideas that helped you find your own path or career? On the other hand, you may have had to bear a professor who made you feel miserable, inadequate, not smart enough. You would like to forget about him or her but you cannot. Their memory is stuck in your mind as a very negative experience. As to doctors, quite often do we hear people complain that the physician they consulted – instead of giving them attention and offering a comforting word – were distracted, were in a hurry and limited themselves to jotting down a list of prescriptions. But the one who lifted your spirit and gave you hope, will always shine in your memory as a bright star.
Whatever your “role” in life is, you are responsible towards the people you interact with. If you are a boss, beware of how you present yourself to your employees. Your attitude makes a great difference in their mood and, consequently, in their performance. If you are an employee, be the best you can be. Your efforts will not pass unnoticed. As a good manager is appreciated by his or her staff, so is any staff member. Manners, availability, helpfulness are characteristics that no one ever forgets, once they are experienced. The same happens with the opposite.
In conclusion, whose hero would YOU like to be? Your friends’? Your children’s? Your relatives’? Your students’? Your patients’? Your clients’? Your colleagues? One person’s in particular? Be aware that no special effort is requested. If you just endeavor to be “the best” you can be, people will notice. They will acknowledge and appreciate your friendly attitude, your inspiring words, your patience, your acceptance, your humanity. After all, this is the stuff authentic “heroes” are made of.
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