In Search of a Hero

We’re currently in the midst of still another crisis. The problem is that we may not recognize it amidst so many other chaotic challenges today. Nevertheless, it’s as serious and consequential as any challenge we’ve ever faced. Another problem is that so many people don’t understand the critical impact this crisis may have on our society and culture in the years to come.

Our already-busy President isn’t going to help us with this one. He already has more than enough on his plate. Our brilliant and accomplished Congress can’t help us here either as they have become part of the problem.

Let me explain. Return with me now to those thrilling days of yesteryear … when we, as children, had someone other than our parents to look up to. While we loved and cherished our moms and dads, we had a need for a hero, maybe even a super-hero, to admire and emulate. Maybe it was a sports figure, maybe a TV or movie star, maybe even someone from a history book. Heck, in those days, it may even have been a politician.

Well, sadly, over the past decade, we’ve lost a good number of those heroes, and it’s a tragedy that few have been replaced … posing the question: Who will be the hero’s of today’s generation?

While those heroes we worshiped may have been TV stars, movie stars or even fictional characters, they shared a common thread of setting good examples and influencing us in a positive way by sharing words of wisdom. Do any of these names ring a bell?

Captain Kangaroo (Bob Keeshan who was the original Clarabell the Clown on the Howdy Doody Show) and his good friend Mr. Greenjeans influenced children for 30 years. The good Captain left us at the age of 77.

Mister Rogers (Fred Rogers) shared his songs, friends, wisdom, love and his “Neighborhood” on TV for 33 years. We lost Fred as he reached the age of 75.

BOZO the Clown (Larry Harmon) dominated radio, TV and cartoons, teaching us manners, good habits, and the joy of laughter. We lost this icon at the of 83.

Soupy Sales (Milton Supman) hosted several children’s shows that spanned three decades, bouncing from network to the locals—with broadcasts originating from Detroit, Los Angeles and New York. He was the official afternoon babysitter for several generations of youngsters. He also passed at age 83.

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) … The impact and influence of this man’s 60 books, multiple poems, movies, cartoons, videos, and personal appearances can never be measured accurately. The good Doctor died at 87.

Mary Kay Ash, while known for her cosmetics, was widely respected for motivating thousands of women to advance by enhancing their self-esteem and pride as they helped others to succeed. She focused on the need for balance and shared that message with her slogan “God first, family second, and career third!”

Art Linkletter was best known for his TV shows “House Party,” “People Are Funny”, and “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” He taught us all that life can be wonderful and funny without resorting to the toxic strategies practiced on TV today. Art just recently passed at age 97.

John Wooden was named the “Greatest Coach of all Time” by The SPORTING News, leading U.C.L.A. to 10 championships in 12 years. However, he transcended the game and became a great model of leadership for college business classes far and wide. “Coach” left us last week at age 99.

I’m going to stop here although the list goes on and on. I’m not trying to be morbid by sharing obituaries. My point is simple. These good folks were there to educate us, inform us, and provide us with wisdom and guidance. Now that they have left us, who has emerged to replace them by providing these crucial necessities for the next generation?

Time for a wake-up call? Pause from your busy life and ask your children and/or grandchildren who their heroes are, who they look up to, who they emulate, or who they want to be like when they grow up! Did they even have an answer? For those who did answer, were you pleased with their answers?

If not, guide them to someone you would be pleased with. Introduce them to the few good examples we have today. Or better yet, YOU be that special person they will be talking about years from today … that special person who was there for them when they needed you … who provided wisdom that would last a lifetime … that special someone they would like to one day be very much like!

Is there anything more important than that in your life today? Think about it. Then do it!

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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