What does it take for one to be called a hero? Many people believe that for a person to be worthy of being proclaimed a hero, one has to have a great impact in the lives of a number of people. The usual connotation of the word hero is someone who has great courage to do the impossible or to risk his life in a dangerous quest to save people. But over time, people have had their own definitions of what makes and what is a hero. There can be a variety of definitions to choose from but I’ve always believed that a hero is someone who is selfless enough to go out of his way to help others.
The concept “ARK: Acts of Random Kindness” was introduced to me when I was still studying in grade school. At a very young age, it was already instilled in myself that part of living was helping others in any way possible. I came to live out this value of being selfless and time and again, I would always remember those people who did the same. It was when I was introduced to various heroes that I re-evaluated my standards of what it is to be a hero. The names of prominent Filipinos like Jose Rizal and Ninoy Aquino instantly became the role models of heroes. They both led a life of service to the Filipinos. They died because of their love for the country and its people. So I thought to myself, was being selfless actually enough to be considered a hero? Wasn’t it a trivial standard? Couldn’t all people be selfless anyway? But then to think of it Jose Rizal and Ninoy Aquino are our heroes because they put us first before themselves. They died because they weren’t worried about their own lives. It was in their selflessness that they became heroes. Selflessness is a big value to live up to. It may look simple to do but if we were consumed with ourselves, with what will make us better, we would find it difficult to practice.
There may be some people who would disagree with my definition of a hero, but like in all things, we all have our own thoughts and opinions. But I believe that as long as we have our own versions of who can be considered as a hero, there will always be heroes among us.
Patrick R. Pennella, a writer and a cadet at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, once said that “Even if we cannot properly identify with absolute certainty whether or not a specific person is a hero, we know what the person should look like. We can aspire to be heroic, to be a true hero.”
– Melissa Sta. Maria