Friday, May 18, 2007

Heroes Are Hard To Come By

Yes they are. Didn’t used to be that way. We were allowed to have heroes, icons, mentors. People we looked up to. We knew they were not perfect, but we were allowed to respect them. We’re not allowed that today. If we find someone to look up to, eventually someone will tear them down.

People of questionable character are given a free ride to be who they are. It’s become fashionable to be objectionable. They’re considered to be honest because they live out their flaws and failures publicly. They flaunt them, and it makes them even more popular. Not so with a man (or woman) of good character. If they trip and stumble, if they make a mistake, act on a bad decision, or just screw up on occasion they are attacked and branded as hypocrites. No credit is given for their effort to live honestly, forthrightly and with dignity. No room is allowed them for their own imperfection. They are scrutinized under a powerful microscope by those who would hope to be able to declare them to be compromised. A convenient way to feel better about ones own misgivings and indiscretions. It is always those seeking to take the high road that are accused of judging others, almost as if those taking the low road need to feel judged in order to have someone to feel superior to.

Personally, I would rather set my standards high and fail to reach them than to set them low and live down to them. If one does not stand for something, one stands for nothing.

It would be easy to think that these observations apply only to public people, but public scrutiny is only the visible end of things. What we don’t see is how the same scrutiny filters down to, and through, all areas of relationships with people in general, families even. Children have always wanted to view their parents as heroes. But by the time they become teenagers they have observed the imperfections in their parents. Teenagers have always needed to view their parents as hypocrites. It is what justifies them being able to engage in experimental behaviors. They are quick to measure and compare the behaviors of parents against what those same parents have advised against, or forbidden, for the children. As if children and parents should have the same standards of behavior. They should in some respects, but not in all. Well, the scrutiny is to be expected from teenagers. It’s in their genes. But in today’s world, with that same scrutiny being lived out through a relentless media, in effect we are perpetuating the behavior of teens. We look for the good people to screw up, and then we shout “aha, gotcha, what a hypocrite.” Makes us feel better.

We continue to applaud the questionable actions of some, while at the same time asking “how did everything get turned so upside down?”

Yeah, heroes are hard to come by now.
So try to live your life in a way that will make you a hero to somebody.