What My Heroes Taught Me

When I was 11 years old I was introduced to two characters who became my heroes.

My parents refused to have a TV in the house. We kids were also forbidden to go to the neighbors’ homes to watch TV shows. But, the combination of “forbidden fruit” and admiration for the TV characters caused me to end up not infrequently in my friend’s living room at the same time that Superman came on.

Heroes

George Reeves was Superman. I didn’t know any tabloid information about the actor, so he received my admiration as if he were Super.

I remember situations that confronted Superman in which several emergencies occurred at the same time. No matter how fast he could fly, faster than a speeding bullet was not sufficient to get him to two places at the same time.

Jor-El talked with him in the Fortress of Solitude after Superman had failed to save someone because of the two places at one time conflict. “Because of who you are, you will hear cries for help from people all around the world. You cannot get to all of them. It will be up to you to decide which ones to answer.

“You have the responsibility to do what you can where you are.”

Clayton Moore was The Lone Ranger. I didn’t see this show as often as I did Superman. Scheduling conflicts prevented it. But I believed he stood for right.

In one episode of The Lone Ranger, Tonto remarks, “The West is so big, and we are just two. We can’t be everywhere we’re needed.”

The Lone Ranger responds, “But we can fight for right and justice where we are. That is all we can do, and that is how I am going to spend my life: Do what I can where I am.”

Now, I knew that neither The Lone Ranger nor Superman were real. But I admired them for certain real qualities that they stood for.

I learned from my two heroes.

I became a teacher.

Human limitations prevented me from being in more than one classroom at a time. I lamented that fact many times. My self-appointed mission was – to equip my students with the necessary skills so they could achieve their best.

For the struggling students my mission was to teach them how to overcome their struggles.

For those students who didn’t struggle, my mission was to teach them how to reach beyond the “good enough” completion of the work to achieve their best. Many were surprised to discover what their best was.

For all of my students my goal was for them to achieve to their potential, and then expand their potential to even more. Many emerged like butterflies from a cocoon.

My students had good success in my classroom.

Do

You may not be a teacher, but the mantra is the same: Do what you can where you are.

Sometimes, just like my two heroes, you may have to travel to a new place to meet the needs there. Or you may settle in Dodge and be Marshal there, making it the best place to be.

We have just witnessed the outpouring of human effort to assist in the rescue and recovery in the Houston area after Hurricane Harvey. Thousands of people traveled to where there was a need and worked to make it better. Tens of thousands more donated to the relief effort.

Big needs are easy to see. And giving a few dollars makes us feel like participants.

Right where you are

But there are opportunities every day right where you are, right where I am. Little opportunities.

Smile and hold the door open for someone. Be aware of people around you in the store and at work. Keep your eyes and ears open for cries for help. Then respond.

If someone’s having a bad day, share a smile and a word of encouragement. Ask if you can help.

Notice the other shoppers in the store. Tune in to opportunities to help or be friendly.

If you’re having a bad day, find someone to help, and your attitude about the day will change 180 degrees. It’s a truism: if you want to feel better, make someone else feel better.

Look around your home and identify those things that you aren’t really using. Look especially in your closets and storage area. Donate items to clear away some of your clutter and to provide what someone else needs – and will use.

Volunteer at a community or church event.

Visit someone who is sick or recovering. Church bulletins often list those who are home bound or in the hospital.

Write a “praise email” telling someone how much you appreciate them, or to say thank you.

Find ways to express your love. A hug, a kind word, an offer to help, a smile, a cheery “Hello!” Sit down with a pen and paper and create a list of ways that fit you, and people you can practice on.

For an Enhanced Life

One of the surest ways to enhance your life, is to make someone else’s life better. The Bible says, “Give and it shall be given unto you.” You receive more when you give more.

Make extra effort over the next week to Do what you can, where you are, to make someone else happy.

Jimmy Durante sang a song “Make Someone Happy.”
“It’s so important to
Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy…

And you will be happy too.”

Share

Write to tell me your experiences this week. What things do you do to make someone happy? What can you add to the ideas in this article?

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Thank you for reading.