What Is A Hero?

Day 9 of the #WingWritingChallenge suggests “hero” as a topic.

Honestly, this is one of those subjective topics. One person’s hero is another person’s enemy, yes?

Being an author of Romantic Suspense/Adventure, as well as some straight thrillers, I am constantly creating a hero out of thin air. I’ve not sat down and contemplated what characteristics to provide that gives my creation hero status, and perhaps I should have.

My characters tend to be everyday people – your real estate agent, a hacker, a brand new FBI agent – who are trying to live their lives as best they can, preferably without causing distress to others. I put them in non-standard situations and watch the sparks fly. Sometimes it’s entertaining, sometimes it ends up in the recycling bin.

But what is my definition? I still don’t know. If someone asked me for an example, I’d bring up the generation before the Baby Boomers. The generation that lived through the Great Depression (and now Great Recession), at least one World War, and the multitude of other potentially globe ending events we’ve seen. That may be a slight exaggeration, but is it really?

A fireman who rushes into a burning building to save people, an officer who risks his life every day to help maintain the law, a soldier protecting our freedom who sits on the frontline while writing a letter home to their spouse and children, these are heroes to me.

So are the single parents who work two jobs and still make the time to read with their children before bedtime, the teachers who stay up all night grading papers and greet their students with a smile no matter what happens in their personal life …

I am a curious sort. I love being able to ask questions and receive many, many different answers. It should be no surprise that I enjoy Reddit because of this quality. Reddit is difficult to explain. I’d rather you go check it out, rather than me give you my impression. I do call it a modern day wild west website, if that helps at all.

I thought this topic would make a great question for the r/askreddit subreddit. That one lets us ask all users a question and, hopefully, you’ll receive a boatload of answers. There are millions of global users on Reddit. Sometimes the questions I think are great and will receive much attention do not. And then there are some where I’d be thrilled to get four answers and it blows up. Today fell in the middle.

I’ll include a link at the bottom of this article so you can see the entire thread if you are curious.


“Redditors: What defines a “hero” to you, and will you give an example?”

First, let me say that I expected a lot of snark. There was far less of that than anticipated. One user answered “You”, and as flattering as that is, I don’t think that’s what we were aiming for with the hero topic.

Second, thank you to the users who replied (if you run across this posting). I appreciate you. I am selecting a smaller sampling, though I will provide a couple that show the brilliance and humor of Reddit – The Front Page of the Internet. Shall we begin?

My favorite comment thus far is this one, from user Tom_Bombadillo:

“Actually giving a shit about the well being of others no matter where they’re from, what language they speak, what they’ve been through, whatever. And not just saying you do and talking about all the bad stuff and offering sympathy. A hero of this kind gets out and actually tries to change something and help. I have respect for empathy above any other trait a person can have.

Fred Rogers (Mr Rogers Neighborhood for those not in the know). Dude cared. He understood that people walked the Earth on billions of different paths, and it didn’t matter to him. All he wanted from you was two things: be you in the truest sense and help other people whenever you could. He always said he loved you just the way you were. If you watched his show, you know he meant it. Every. Single. Time.

Damn it, I miss Mr Rogers so much. Now if you’ll excuse me I might go cry for a bit.”

toosah says, “A hero is a villain praised by society. Examples: Gehnkis Khan, Christopher Columbus.”

Golden-Sun says, “People who go out of their way to assist others in time of need. Either leaving their comfort zone or risking their own safety for a group or individual.”

And, of course, rudedood who went the direction I was considering when I woke up this morning: “A really good sandwich, like one that has meat cheese and veggies.”

I think those sum it up quite well!

Readers, what do you believe makes a hero? Let me know in comments.

AskReddit: What defines a hero?




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