Do images of soldiers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, Ironman, and Spiderman come to mind when you hear the word “Hero?” Would it surprise you to know “You’re my hero” are the words I try to say to my toddler on a regular basis.
Of course he hasn’t saved anyone’s life and doesn’t put his life in danger for our community. He is just a little boy. I know most people view heroic actions to be things involved in saving a person’s life; things the types of people mentioned above do on a daily basis for their jobs. However, I want my son to see how even small actions can be heroic and an average person can be a hero in their own way.
He loves super heroes and we have talked about how his father was recently a hero by performing CPR on our neighbor and saving her life, and how his Pop is a hero to many due to being a paramedic. These types of heroic actions take a special person, someone who doesn’t crumble during high stress situations. I know I’m not that type of person; I literally shut down, typically, can’t move, cry, and lose all knowledge of what needs to be done. I know many people that react in a similar way. My son is too young for me to know how he will react to this type of stress; he might shine like his father or crumble like me. This is why I think it is important to point out how small actions can be heroic.
The other day I had a stinkbug on my back, it was in a spot I could not reach and seemed determined to stay there. Well, my son is terrified to hold bugs (he loves looking at them but refuses to hold any bug and will cry if he thinks one is touching him), seeing my distress he showed me he could be brave and put my needs over his own. He grabbed a cloth wipe and picked the bug up, then quickly handed it to me. I called him “My hero” and he was so proud of himself. Another recent occurrence when he put another person first was when he took his father a toothbrush and they brushed their teeth together. I know this doesn’t seem heroic, but he HATES brushing his teeth due to some oral aversions developed while having to do tongue stretches after his tongue and lip tie revisions. He will kick and scream the entire time and we usually have to pin his arms down so he doesn’t hurt himself or us. On this occasion, I asked if he had brushed his teeth and he responded, “No.” I then asked, “Did Daddy brush his teeth?” and he responded, “No.” I reminded him that we all have to brush our teeth before bed and Daddy really needed to brush his before he fell asleep, since he was already laying down. As I was getting my own toothbrush ready he asked me to give him his and his father’s toothbrushes. I obliged and he went to his daddy and made him brush his teeth while he showed him he could brush his own, in a way of trying to encourage and comfort his father (mimicking what we regularly try with him). I thought this was the sweetest thing. He has such a big heart and is constantly overcoming his own fears to help others. On that night he was his father’s little hero.
People don’t always have to overcome fears to be someone’s hero. You also never know when a kind word, show of love or gratitude can help bring a little happiness into someone’s dark world or even help someone stop intrusive suicidal thoughts.
I’ve had people be my hero just by believing in me and encouraging me to be the best version of myself. I’ve seen people be heroes by gifting others medicine, money, food, diapers, or items they can use to sale or repair their home or car. Little things can make a lot of difference, especially when given without payment or expectations. These types of actions deserve gratitude just as much as those who work in a hero based position do (we need to remember to show our gratitude to them, since we tend to forget to show our appreciation when we know the person is being paid.)
Has your child or someone else been your hero lately?
This is my littlest hero.