Throughout my elementary school days my classmates and I were asked a number of times who our heroes were and why we choose them. As my classmates answered I sat back and took it all in. I heard all of the normal stuff such as famous baseball players, football players, ballerinas, actors and actresses, but very rarely did I hear, “My parents!”

From one year to the next I never hesitated with the answer or my reasoning behind it. My parents always provided me with everything I needed to grow up on a good environment. I was always well-fed, clean, rested and well-mannered. I was taught to respect people even when they don’t respect you.

My parents always told me to kill them with kindness. It’s very hard for someone to be mean to another person when the person is smiling. Give it a try sometime and you’ll see how well it works. Depending on the person it will either drive them crazy and make them extremely angry, especially if they harbor a lot of internal anger or it will make them calm down and smile, too. You can find out a lot about a person’s character by examining their reaction.

As I moved from elementary school into high school my parents remained my heroes. Both of them were hard workers and they did everything they could to ensure the happiness of me and my siblings before themselves. They were and still are the perfect models for what parents should be.

All of us kids were taught about the importance of money. We had to earn our own money and hold jobs when we were old enough to work. The three of us got lucky enough to land good jobs right out of the gate and gain ground quickly while working. Before I left for college I made my way into management and stayed there throughout college. I enjoyed what I did because the employees under me liked me, but more than anything they respected me. I ran a loose ship, but when it was time to work I accepted no excuses. I wasn’t a micro-manager as so many unqualified people in management are today. They taste some power and become power mongers without knowing how their actions affect the entire workforce.  When morale begins to spiral out of control the power mongers begin pointing fingers. They blame it on other employees rather than accepting the blame. It’s always easier to blame someone else than to own the problem.

Now, as an adult in my mid-life years, I tend to take it all in and ride the wave. I like to imagine myself as a surfer. I ride the wave without letting is suck me under and pound me into the sand on the ocean floor. Once the wave breaks and the water takes me toward the shore I hop off the board, hit the beach and walk away. It’s a simple way of avoiding the backlash of the waves. The younger version of me would still be out there fighting every wave rather than letting it take me where it wants to. There’s no sense in fighting a battle that can’t be won.

Even now I still have the same heroes as I did 40 years ago and better yet both of those heroes are still alive. I know how fortunate I am, especially when I look around at all of my friends who have all lost parents and siblings alike. My entire family is here and I know how lucky I am. Although I’ve lost all of my grandparents and a few aunts and uncles along the way  the roots of my tree are still planted in the ground around me.

Some days these roots seem like they belong to an unbreakable tree and other days I wonder how much more the trees can take before the big nasty storms blow them over. The weather was calm for many years, but the last few have brought one storm after another. The wind and rain keep pounding and the trees bend but they haven’t broken.

Heroes come and go in life. My heroes have walked beside me for the last 45 years. No matter what happens in the future I’ll always have their characteristics, which have been instilled into my personality for my entire lifetime up to this point. Choose your heroes wisely and do the things you have to do in order to be a child’s hero. Anyone, no matter who you are, can make a difference in someone’s life.


Here are my heroes.



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