Must the Mighty Fall?
August 21, 2015
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It seems “hero” is a term thrown around in an effort to describe something appearing to defy human tenacity and resilience, but only a select few categories are recognized. This acknowledgement occurred this morning as I was trolling Facebook, and viewed yet another posting of a fallen soldier who did not receive recognition for their sacrifice, and I agree they should be recognized. Forgoing your life for a cause more abstract and greater than your person is something I’m not sure I could do. Such postings are not what gives me pause to think, rather it is the exploitation of the military to perpetuate prejudicial or discriminatory views.
Allow me to explain, and I ask for your patience with my explanation. In almost all of the above cases there will be a line indicating that these personnel are the “real” heroes and not “Bruce” Jenner for wearing a dress/swimsuit/whatever. Such a comment is at the very core of the importance of Caitlyn Jenner’s choice to give publicity to transgender issues. While I cannot say if she should be viewed as a hero, I can, however, comment on the great struggles and sacrifices of the transgender youth I have worked with who risk their lives daily just to be true to themselves. I am proud to live in one of the meager few states to provide legal protection for such individuals, which is part of the point. The term hero can easily be applied to some of the individuals I’ve met, and I find it unfortunate that one must have an occupation to kill people to be recognized for sacrifice.
This is not to say that firefighters, police officers, and soldiers are not entitled to our deepest respect. After all, they commit themselves to an occupation that I am incapable. But, does one need to overtly risk their lives in their job description to be considered a hero? I think of teachers working in troubled urban and rural districts that manage to drive their students to achieve things no one else considered possible as heroes in their own right. I think of successful individuals who defy the odds of lack of support, resources, and possibly abuse or neglect to become worthwhile citizens with solid families of their own; they don’t have the desire to boast their accomplishments running for a national political office. Their only concern is to live their lives as best they can. Can we not label their strength of character and their life of sacrifice in the same light, as so many fail in the same endeavor with a fraction of the barriers?
This is a mommying blog, so how does my rant fit? Flippantly, I think Mommies are heroes. Seriously, enduring any aspect of labor deserves a medal, but, no, it is an expectation for being a woman making such a life choice. Not as flippantly, it’s an endlessly indescribably difficult thing to help your greatest love live for themselves; to raise an individual to make decisions and take actions as they see fit. The jury is still out on my cherub, but I hope I will have the strength to allow him to make his mistakes, as well as love and respect him regardless of who he becomes.