Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: True Heroism

 

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. –Arthur Ashe

 

Much of the dialogue about the coronavirus has focused on the first responders, our health care professionals, who repeatedly have risked their lives to take care of those who face this potentially dangerous virus. I have heard some grumbling, questioning whether those who step up to serve are really heroes at all. After all, they signed up to help care for the sick; medicine is their chosen path, so why should they get the extra accolades?

In the past I have been one of the first people to challenge the overuse of the word “hero.” People who tackle adversities that appear in their lives are not heroes; they are showing resilience in dealing with difficulties that we all face at one time or another. People who overcome alcoholism or drug abuse are not heroes; they are individuals who chose a poor direction to pursue in their lives, but gave up their self-destructive paths and made a commitment to stay sober. Those decisions take courage, but they are not heroic. To choose to conquer our limitations, digressions and negative paths is commendable. But the choices are not heroic.

I believe heroism means going beyond the ordinary demands of life and exceeding them. It means not giving in to self-indulgent motivations, but to pursue paths with others in mind. And it means taking those paths in order to serve others, possibly at the risk to their own well-being, even their lives, without weighing the consequences. They act, not to be noticed or praised, but to put themselves on the line because they are called to do so.

That is honorable. Those actions are true heroism.

 

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  1. Stad Thatcher

    Susan Quinn:

    I believe heroism means going beyond the ordinary demands of life and exceeding them. It means not giving in to self-indulgent motivations, but to pursue paths with others in mind. And it means taking those paths in order to serve others, possibly at the risk to their own well-being, even their lives, without weighing the consequences. They act, not to be noticed or praised, but to put themselves on the line because they are called to do so.

    That is honorable. Those actions are true heroism.

     

    Works for me.

    I served on submarines while in the Navy. I never considered anything I did as heroic, even though submarine duty was considered hazardous. If someone walked up to me and called me a hero, I’d be forced to correct him. However, I do appreciate the “Thank you for your service” I get from my friends on Veteran’s Day, or strangers when I’m out and about in one of my “Retired Navy” tee shirts . . .

    • #1
    • June 12, 2020, at 6:31 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Stad (View Comment):
    However, I do appreciate the “Thank you for your service” I get from my friends on Veteran’s Day, or strangers when I’m out and about in one of my “Retired Navy” tee shirts . . .

    I absolutely agree, @stad! I often say thanks for their service, and I truly mean it. Good point!

    • #2
    • June 12, 2020, at 6:33 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Rodin Member

    The challenge of accolades is that they lose meaning if too frequently given. I have to admit a bias: I have always found it awkward to accept a complement. When I was younger I simply deflected it. But that is wrong; it insults the thinking of the person giving the complement. So I then learned to simply say “thank you”.

    As a consequence of my own bias I tend to not be highly complementary of others. When given it is heartfelt and reflects my estimation that the person has done something extraordinary. But thanking people for doing a difficult and/or risky job well, even if routine, is important if we want people to continue to do it.

    • #3
    • June 12, 2020, at 9:08 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    This is the Quote of the Day. If you want to be a hero, you’ll probably need to do more than starting a conversation on Ricochet. But, if you do have a quotation in mind or a thought to share that can be backed up with a quotation, our sign-up sheet awaits.

    • #4
    • June 12, 2020, at 12:29 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Stad Thatcher

    Arahant (View Comment):
    If you want to be a hero, you’ll probably need to do more than starting a conversation on Ricochet.

    I do know about that. Some topics require a bit of heroism to make your thoughts known . . .

    • #5
    • June 14, 2020, at 5:51 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Nick Plosser Coolidge

    A beautiful quote from Ashe. Was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thanks for sharing @susanquinn

     

    • #6
    • June 14, 2020, at 8:50 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn

    Nick Plosser (View Comment):

    A beautiful quote from Ashe. Was exactly what I needed to read this morning. Thanks for sharing @susanquinn.

     

    Thanks, @nickplosser. We have many unsung heroes who are protecting us in spite of the serious risks to their own lives. How long will they be willing to work this way??

    • #7
    • June 14, 2020, at 8:53 AM PDT
    • 1 like