Everyone has their own set of heroes. I am like many, with sports heroes prominent in my adulation, but there has always been one constant hero throughout my life. This is a person who has always stood as a symbol of strength and responsibility to me. He has never questioned me or many of the questionable decisions I have made in my lifetime. His nickname in our family as long as I can remember back was “The Rock.” On his young strong shoulders sat the responsibility of raising his two younger siblings in a foreign land with a foreign language. One incident I recall was in the tiny Japanese village of Nakagami-Akashima. We lived in a compound of four houses, all occupied by American military families. There was running water, something none of the other villagers had access to, and our little house was heated by a kerosene heater. One cold night, as we huddled around the heater, a sudden noise from our back porch drew our attention. The rest I really did not see, but I do know the would-be kerosene thief was chased over our back fence and my hero-worship confirmed. We were safe.
Like all heroes he is flawed. His has not been a perfect ride; he has struggled with many of the same demons and adversaries we all face as human beings. He raised two of the most amazing daughters ever and is still The Rock of the family as we begin this new reality. My big brother Ed is THE MAN.
How about single parents? Talk about heroes. I was never blessed with children but it certainly was not for a lack of trying. Although I have no children of my own, I absolutely love litle kids. I think my biggest problem would be switching to parent mode and saying “no.” I am sure I would have had very spoiled children. Single parents sacrificing their own lives to produce good citizens of the planet are the epitome of heroism. Kids all start out as a blank slate and how it is filled is Mom or Dad’s job. When you do a great job of providing children this path to happiness and success, you have made our world better. It is for this same reason that educators get a tip of the cap for their efforts.
PAY OUR EDUCATORS!!! Unlike Forrest Gump, that’s NOT all I have to say about that. Speaking on a planetary scale, raisng the education level of even ONE student will benefit ALL of us. Heroes who spend monies out of their own pockets when there is no budget for school supplies, who start early and work late because they truly believe in what they do, heroes who are shamefully under-paid and under-appreciated. It is humiliating with all the resources at our disposal, that our country continues to slip in the world rankings for the level of education we have. Don’t blame the teachers for that. Big budget for education. Higher pay for educators. Win-win.