Perhaps this is a time of evaluation for me. I have been looking back through the years of my life. Going back as far as I can remember and painting in pictures as clearly as memory will allow. It reminds me of turning pages in a very-much-loved old photo album. Memories of funny faces laughing, of first birthday parties, of grandparents with gentle faces who are no longer with me, of my piano recitals, of sports events, of the world news, of summer vacations, of school graduations, and of first love emerging, the story of my life unfolding. What I feel as I remember is a quickly changing kaleidoscope of emotions ranging from joy to sadness, from excitement to curiosity and gratitude. My precious life speaks to me.
As I look and remember, a realization is working its way into my conscious awareness. There were so many heroes in my life! People larger than life who taught me so many lessons. Not necessarily class content—although my seventh grade English teacher, Mr. Giordano, was amazing—the larger lessons about being a human being of honor. Each person taught me by their actions, by the way they lived each day, consistently displaying nobility of mind, action, and spirit.
If I were to write a list, it would be a long one, beginning with my parents, Rev. Bohm, Mrs. Wange, Dwight Eisenhower, President Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, God, my brother Roger, my sister Carolyn, Martin Luther King Jr., Miss Wynn, my third grade teacher, JFK and on and on.
Heroes of time gone by became my heroes because they cared and did something about it. Each one my teacher, each one a whole person making mistakes along the way and correcting their course because they had a sense of honor, a reverence for life, and a deep desire to do the right thing. They wanted to make a contribution…right action.
Has something changed over the years? Are there still heroes in my life? Yes, and they seem to be fewer. Are there heroes in our children’s lives? Yes, and I wonder what kind—especially when reading the newspaper or listening to the news. What kind of people do we as a whole hold up to our children as heroes, as people worth being our children’s role models? How do we measure? Are our children finding their heroes these days in the sports pages, on TV, in church, in government, in show business, on YouTube—where? What values are we imbedding unconsciously into the minds of our young through the media?
What we value and acknowledge is all around us, and sometimes I feel ashamed. I see so much glitz and greed, addiction to power and drugs, notoriety, deception, looking good, and “me first” thinking. When we tell ourselves it’s impossible to be a politician and be a person of honor, I think we are in trouble.
Who are your heroes, past and present? Is there a difference for you also?
Contrary to what you may be thinking, I am excited by my journey into my past and visiting my old heroes. Excited because with my new conscious awareness I can use what my old heroes taught me. It is time to acknowledge what I honor by choosing according to my deepest values: how I vote, who I invite into my life and my children’s lives, how I run my business, how I spend the money I earn, who I support, how I invest my time, who I choose as my teachers. I want each choice to reflect what I hold precious.
Sometimes the simplest and quietest moments bring the greatest gifts and realizations. If I don’t
become a person of honor, who will?
1. Looking back over your life as far back as you can remember, what are your fondest memories?
2. Who were your heroes as you were growing up? And why? What did they stand for?
3. Who are your heroes now? Is there a difference in what you are looking for?
4. What will it take on your part to think of yourself as a person of honor?
With love and gratitude,