The other day on Facebook I posted one of those pencil sketch cards (thanks to Karen Hawkins and Sabrina Jeffries) in which the couple was happily dancing. The caption: Tell me again how big your library is. For avid readers like me, that puts a new spin on the most ‘romantic hero’.
But what precisely defines heroic?
We’re taught that brave, courageous people are heroes – and that’s true. Those who charge in to rescue or liberate those in need are definitely heroes. We read bigger than life fictional characters who exhibit those traits and call them heroic.
One of my favorite people from my childhood was the head coach of the city track team. A firefighter, he managed to create an age-group track program for community kids in his free time. With his dedication, perseverance and leadership the program gained momentum and national recognition. Thanks to his vision, I traveled around my state, region, and country to compete.
Coach MacGinnis was a dynamo, he saw the big picture, and most importantly he was able to help kids see that picture as it related to our individual abilities as well as team and community success. He was a hero and mentor to tens of thousands of children through the years. He was a hero to parents who didn’t have to worry about idle kids in the summer months.
My grandmother was no less heroic in my opinion, though her work was – on the surface – of a quieter variety.
She taught Sunday School to thousands of children through the years, sharing an inspiration and an unflagging belief that every child is important. She applied her unique drive and determination to countless situations to improve circumstances for those less fortunate in the local and global community.
I grew up watching and learning from her fine example of what a female heroine looks like. Her wisdom, humor, and practicality, not to mention her belief in my abilities supports and fuels me even now.
Real life heroic impact with far-reaching, lasting results isn’t measured in the short term. Often heroic people don’t even realize the change they are creating in those around them.
In fiction, like life, we know our characters by their actions. Male and female heroes who jump into the fray to do the right thing just because it’s the right thing.
Heroes, male and female, have an underlying integrity we gravitate toward in real life and in fiction. Female heroes inspire reader loyalty with compassion, courage and bravery – whether they are brash, kick-butt martial art experts like Jaden of Justice Incarnate, or soft-spoken florists who charm flowers to give her customers a boost like Lily in The Matchmaker’s Mark.
Heroism isn’t gender specific and it sure isn’t limited to acts of grandeur. Heroics in books can and should inspire us to live life more boldly, with courage and compassion. Heroism is an every day thing each of us can strive to toward, making a difference in our own corner of the world.
Who’s your hero?
Live the adventure!