Welcome to my Never Quit Climbing blog

A practical, inspirational blog designed to encourage and give hope to people who are climbing mountains of rock and granite or ones life has put in their way.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

When and Why Our Heroes Fall

Well, it looks like Lance Armstrong's explanations have run out. He appears to be guilty of doping during the years he was winning cycling's greatest race. A lot of us have been let down again, haven't we? I live in Austin, Texas, Lance's hometown. Ugh.

And while many will still support him and others will want him crucified, I plan to do neither. But it is worth a look at why our heroes fall so much of the time and how we should respond. What can we learn that puts it all into perspective and reminds us of what is really true?

I mean how many times will we have to sigh huge sighs when another Tiger or U.S. senator or famous minister or movie star takes a personal or moral dive? Probably lots because it will happen again and again. So we need to re-think some things about what a hero really is and the kind of role they should or should not play in our lives.

First of all, there is a place for heroes. They are good to have as long as we don't worship them. Heroes can give us healthy role models to emulate, standards to aspire to and the inspiration to work harder at what we want to accomplish.

But second, we have forgotten that heroes are human just like us. While many of them truly do amazing things and accomplish feats few will copy, they still mess up. They lie, cheat and even steal sometimes. They never were what we probably believed them to be: superhuman? invincible? perfect?  No, their humanity doesn't excuse their often pitiful behavior, but it shouldn't surprise us.  It wouldn't shock us if we initially assumed that they were just everyday people who just happened to be very disciplined and accomplished.

Third, popularity and fame are dangerous entities and the human tendency is to hold on to them no matter the cost. Once the seduction of being sought after, winning all the time and enjoying the myriad perks takes hold, it's difficult to admit anything that could force someone to let go of it all. It seems like Lance finally tired of the charade. Most people just eventually get caught in the act and have no choice. Either way it's ultimately better but there is always a fight and there are always consequences.

Fourth, we need to find and recognize better heroes. And the good news is that they are all around us. They are parents who love their kids even when times are tough, they are service men and women along with police and firefighters who protect us. They include people with disabilities and other challenges who persevere and live meaningful lives anyway. They are giving men and women who serve others in soup kitchens, ministries, churches and agencies out of love for their God and others.

Yes, while there will be others who we've deemed as heroes who will fall, we will be less disappointed if we remember that the ones typically given the title of hero are not. Most of the real heroes will never be famous or rich or write a book, star on TV or play in the Super Bowl. But once we find those genuine heroes, they will change us and be less likely to ever let us down.

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