“Show me a hero, and I’ll write you a tragedy.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald
A few TV shows caught my attention this week: Golden Globe Awards, Australian Open, NFL playoffs, American Idol… and, of course, Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong.
Big stars. Famous names. Wealth. Amazing talent.
Actors, athletes, and musicians make my heart swoon with their music, my adrenaline race with their feats, and my imagination soar with their stories. I admire their appearance, skill, charisma, and money.
But should I choose them as my heroes?
What do I really know about their character? Integrity? Values? Relationships? Behind closed doors, are they honest? Faithful? Kind? Can I trust them?
According to the dictionary, a hero is someone admired for courage or noble qualities.
An idol is often visible but without substance.
“A hero is someone who understands the responsibility
that comes with his freedom.”
Are the heroes I set on a pedestal responsible with their talent, resources, time? Do they invest in others or indulge only in their own desires?
“Never be surprised at the crumbling of an idol
or the disclosure of a skeleton.”
John Emerich Edward Dalberg
Time after time I grieve when my heroes prove that they are only superficial glitter and sparkle while hiding internal turmoil of substance abuse, broken relationships, lies, corruption, and failure of all kinds.
Will my heroes sustain the test of time? Will they still deserve my respect and my attention after many years have passed, or will they be blaming others, hiding in shame, or spending time in prison?
“The idol of today pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection;
and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of tomorrow.”
The winners of today’s awards, tournaments, and rankings are so quickly forgotten. I want a hero who is authentic, quick to confess errors, generous with others, and whose impact and influence do not reside in a metal statue – but rather, engrave good on my heart and produce growth in my life.
How do you choose your heroes?