What makes a real-life superhero? | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Just like any 4-year-old, my son loves superheroes. He has his favorites, which seem to change every month, but in general, it doesn’t matter which hero it is. As long as the guy, or in some cases, the animals, have powers that set them apart and allow them to accomplish great feats, you can bet he will be all for it!


Although he has his own ideas of what defines a superhero, from Day 1, I have taught him that superheroes always fight on the side of what is right and just. He has grown up believing that good always triumphs over evil, regardless of how difficult it may be.


But recent events have made me realize that it is about time to teach my son about the other kind of heroism. After all, superheroes only live in a writer’s imagination, and in worlds that exist solely in the imagination. There, the lines between black and white are clear, and though the story may have its twists and turns, rest assured that the ending will always result in victory for the good.


But we live in a world where lines are more easily blurred. Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish who the heroes are from the foes. And though we all hope and wish for a happy ending, we don’t always get it.


But every now and then, what we do get are exceptionally amazing people who show the world that heroes still exist among us, and it is an honor for me to teach my son about these heroes today.




Whereas a superhero on TV is larger than life, to the point of being unreal, and equipped with supernatural abilities, the heroes I admire are ordinary men and women who rise up to the challenge of becoming extraordinary through their own efforts and abilities.


Real heroes feel every inch of the fear that all of us do. They know the risks of their actions, but they courageously march on because this is the path they have chosen, this is what they must do to keep those who depend on them safe.


And then there is the subject of victory. If we all lived in a fairy tale or movie, then every fight, no matter how challenging it may be, would be worth taking on because we know that in the end, victory will be awarded to the deserving. Unfortunately, nowhere is it written that victory is guaranteed to those who fight for what is right in real life. We can hope for justice in the next life as promised in most religious texts, but there are no assurances in this lifetime.


What heroes do in this world is take a step into the unknown, where nothing is in their control and where the most they can do is hope for the best.


Power is another factor in a superhero’s life. There is much more to be admired in a person who knows that power is not meant to destroy but to create a better world. Power is not meant to be wielded carelessly, but to be used sparingly and mercifully.


The quality in a hero that I would most like to teach my son about is humanity. A hero is a man or a woman, who could be anyone’s son or daughter, husband or wife, father or mother, or friend. Someone who bleeds real blood, just like any of us. Someone who loves and cares for others as we all do. But unlike the ordinary person, this one is greater than the sum of his or her parts because of an extraordinary goodness and determination to right what is wrong in this world.


These people who venture far and wide don’t just wake up feeling like changing the world one day. It starts early in life, in the little things that they choose to do as they make their way in life. Before they become the heroes we read about in the newspapers and watch on TV, they are the everyday faceless heroes we take for granted.


Different breed


These people are of a different breed and caliber, and it takes a lot to raise a human being as selfless as they are, but they inspire us to raise children who can follow in their footsteps one day. Becoming a real-life hero is not a question of fate or being exposed to radioactive materials. It is about being exposed to an everlasting hope for a better world.


The heroes who will change the face of this world tomorrow, or even just the people who will simply make this world a better place through their kindness and gentleness, are those we guide and mold within our families today. They are those in whom we must inculcate the right virtues, and teach to believe in their abilities to make a much-needed difference in this world.


One day, I hope that peace will reign in our country, and that we will all take it upon ourselves to protect and uphold that peace, thereby making us a nation of heroes. But in the meantime, we honor those who gave their lives to give us the safety and security we have today.


To the Fallen 44, our mighty heroes who fought so valiantly and whose death had sparked a blazing fire in the heart of our nation, you stand tall before us. You will not be forgotten. We live gratefully, forever in your debt.

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