Sunday, October 21, 2007


Another in my continuing series of posts on my 13 virtues. For more information see the beginning of my wisdom post here.

Dictionary Definition. Mean mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship.

Dedicant Handbook Definition. The ability to act appropriately in the face of danger.

School House Rocks’ “Zero, My Hero”
“Well, there are all kinds of heroes, you know.
A man can get to be a hero
For a famous battle he fought...
Or by studying very hard
And becoming a weightless astronaut.

“And then there are heroes of other sorts,
Like the heroes we know from watching sports.
But a hero doesn't have to be a grown up person, you know,
A hero can be a very big dog
Who comes to your rescue,
Or a very little boy who's smart enough to know what to do…”

I have a version of “Zero, My Hero” by the Lemonheads and I always love the beginning of the song, which is the quote I gave above. In the legends from Ireland, hero’s like Cuchulainn and Fionn mac Cumhaill are courageous. Fearless in battle, they are not scared of death, let alone their enemies. I honestly don’t know if this type of courage really exists outside of the battle field. Everyone I know who has experienced fight or die scenarios – from soldiers to trauma victims –don’t see their time in immediate danger as courageous. Instead, they see the moments afterwards, when healing and helping others and themselves, as when they were most courageous. Which is why I love the song lyrics so much, because following your dreams, studying hard, taking an opportunity to do the right thing, healing from trauma, facing your inner shadow, these are the acts of courage in any situation from the battle-field to the back yard. And these are the heroic acts mentioned. (None, of which are done by the number 0, but that does not negate the coolness of the number.) So while the dictionary definition and the dedicant handbook definition give similar meanings for the word, when I think of real courage, I just start singing “zero, my hero, how wonderful you are.”

Others in this series:

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