(This is a piece I wrote my senior year of high school for Comp I. We were to write about what an "Everyday Hero" meant to us)
When you peer into the lives of others, what do you see? Do you ever wonder what others might see in you? We all assess others, including ourselves. What we do not realize is that each and every one of us can make a difference in somebody’s life, one measure at a time. Whether it be welcoming a new student at school, or assisting a stranger on the street, we have an impact on those lives we touch in a positive way. If we take a moment out of our day to bestow the gift of a simple smile, say hello or lend a hand during a difficult time, you would be surprised at the power of these gestures. You may not realize that every genuine act of kindness you extend to others has an impact on everyone around you. That is what’s great about a chain reaction- once you give an act of kindness another will feel inspired to pay it forward.
We may think of heroes as people who save the day from total disaster, but this is definitley not the case. Everyday heroes, in my opinion, are those that try to help others when the opportunity presents itself. Even more so, they usually don’t wait for an occasion, but make one of their own. They are those whom we look up to, who we can count on or who inspire all they come in contact with to reach deeper within themselves to become more compassionate people. We all have the capacity to be a hero. I believe our world would be a much more gracious place to dwell if being compassionate wasn’t a choice, but a natural reaction. Being the better person in a majority of judgmental, uncaring people would indeed be quite a task, but one that you should be proud to act upon. Don’t let others judge you negatively on the acts of goodwill you give to others, for you are truly the more exceptional person in the eyes of the Lord and the gift of heart rejoices more for the giving.
In my short seventeen years, I have dealt with my share of ostracism, harassment and verbal abuse. I took it very personally, and in those days it seemed like an hour at school was an eternity. There were many times that I felt I was not significant or valued. It did not take me long to appreciate there was a lot more to life than being belittled. My eighth grade year, in junior high was a turning point for me. I attended a school Bully Seminar and became so engaged by the speaker’s words I completely forgot all the other people in the auditorium. I felt heard and understood. When the speaker asked the audience to stand and proclaim, “I want to be a “Tim”, a leader for change”, I stood. I was the only student to rise in the entire student body. My breath caught in my throat, when I voiced, “I want to be a Tim.”
I became my own hero that day. I stood up for myself in a crowded auditorium, not realizing how many others felt the same turmoil and sadness. In the days that followed, those who had rarely spoken to me before greeted me with smiles in the hallways. Teachers even behaved differently towards me and they actually became more observant and caring. Once I looked at the world in a more positive light, I helped others who were going through the same things I experienced and let negative comments slip by me. Many of those people who affected me in the same way I affected them are now some of my closest friends. It was the beginning of the journey to becoming my authentic self. I know I still have much to learn and gain and that the ultimate satisfaction of everyday life begins by being a better person. The giving of myself to assist my community, my country and my world is how life is meant to be. Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
Each day brings a new beginning. Take that extra step to lend a helping hand: strangers today can be the friends of tomorrow. Don’t fall into the majority, and stand up for others and what you know is right. Take the time to smile at everyone who passes you by, even if they don’t welcome you with a smile back, because a smile is effortless and it doesn’t cost a thing. Be someone’s everyday hero by inspiring them to be kind to those they share their lives with, and this will indeed lead us to a brighter tomorrow.