Here’s fitting story someone sent me from the Internet.
It illustrates the need in today’s world for real heroes for people to emulate.
In a trial in the southern part of the United States, a small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand. The witness was a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know me?” She responded, “Why, yes, I know you, Mr. Williams. I’ve known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you’ve been a disappointment to me. You lie, cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you are a big shot when you haven’t the brains to realize you will never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.”
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, “Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?” She replied, “Why, yes, I do. I’ve known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He is lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can’t build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he has cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.”
The defense attorney nearly died. Then the judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, “If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I’ll send you both to the electric chair!”
Years ago my then eighteen-year-old son’s school held a ‘Heroes Banquet.’
Each student was asked to write a paper on their hero. The students’ paper had to describe their hero, why they were a hero to them, stories about the hero, and the values and behaviors they had learned from their hero. To my surprise, my son’s hero was me. I won’t bore you with the details but there never was a happier father on the face of this planet. My son Jonathan and his mother are a hard sell!
Heroes are leaders, whether they like it or not. Oliver Goldsmith once said, “People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy after.” Dante Alighieri says, “A great flame follows a little spark.” Good family and community heroes understand being a hero is more caught than taught, seen than said, silent than loud, and inside than outside.
Real leaders lead by influence, not authority.
Charles Lauer says, “Leaders don’t force people to follow. They invite them on the journey.” I would rather lead my family by influence than authority. Heroes don’t shrug responsibility. They embrace it. That’s a far cry from today’s strategy where a good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to a problem. Heroes understand what Warren Buffett says, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
Heroes chart the course others will follow whether positive or negative.
That’s the power of ‘hero-ship.’ John D. Rockefeller, Jr., said, “I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.”
Thank God that there are still wise people who can discern the difference between a hero and a zero.
I hope we can too. Thank God for the leaders, both male and female, who accept the challenge to being a hero in the eyes of one or many.
And, in keeping with this coming Father’s Day, what the world needs now is fathers who are less zero and more hero. That’s Father power.
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