What makes a hero
A hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. A hero can also be defined as someone who contributes meaningfully to a community. So, their deeds must be in the context of community and they should be for a bigger good than the individual. Children have different perceptions of a hero, they commonly derive their heroes from fictional literature like movies and stories. As they grow older, this perception changes to reflect their maturity and appreciation of the iconic individuals in the society who directly or indirectly contributed significantly to the well-being of the community. Therefore, my argument will overlook the childish definition of a hero and focus on what defining qualities and actions that make a hero.
A hero is highly subjective label because it is a contextual term. A definition of a hero to an old grandparent is different to that of a teen member of a gang. Each one of them have diverse perspective about life and what a heroic deed entails. A hero can be as a result of one or more heroic deeds that leaves a lasting impression to the society. Paradoxically, some heroic deeds in one community can be overlooked and cannot warrant the label of a hero in another. The circumstances and definition of heroic deeds is therefore subject to the culture and the conditions which surround an event that births a hero.
Since heroism is a matter of perspective, what are heroic deeds? Heroic deeds are actions that contribute to the well-being or livelihood of a community, as viewed by that community. These deeds are highly subjective as mentioned above. Some heroes stumble their heroic deeds in the course of their normal work and do not necessarily do anything out of the norm. They step in for action like any sane sentient being would have done and they are labelled as heroes. Other people such as firemen and military rescuers are trained to take risks in their jobs to save life or property yet every call of duty their community showers them with labels of heroes. These people are just doing their work and they have been trained and equipped to face any imminent danger. Other heroic deeds do not necessarily add any significant value to our lives yet many people consider them heroic. For example, the first people to climb Mt. Everest have been accorded heroic honors yet their achievement does not add any significant value to the society. All these mountain climbers did was push their determination to go higher the mountain and come down to prove it is possible of to view the world from the top. They engineered desire and inspiration to many other people to go up against the mountain. Unfortunately, many people have since lost their lives attempting to reach the summit which begs the question, was their accomplishment heroic if it inspired people to go on suicide missions?
Therefore, like mentioned above, a heroic deed is a matter of perspective. And what makes heroes is heroic deeds which some heroes stumble by chance. Other heroic deeds are a result of training and preparation to face imminent danger. Other people who go high and beyond their abilities to achieve a monumental accomplishment are also heroes though we overlook some of the negative unintended results of their achievements. Succinctly, heroism is just a matter of perspective and it is a label attached to people who do one or more heroic deeds as per the community.
Importantly, the term hero used in this article refers also to heroines and in their context thereof, the author used ‘hero’ with total regard to gender impartiality and any unintended perception portrayed by the term is apologized.