Monday, June 1, 2009

The Hero Challenge

Since I haven't been writing lately I was seriously considering the June NaBloPoMo challenge to kick the right side of my brain back into gear. This month's challenge is to find a hero for each day of the month ... 30 heroes ... easy! A man I have been spending time with was helping me put together my list of heroes so that I could get a head start on the month long challenge. As I rambled off my list of friends, family and celebrities I realized they were all women. Women who in my eyes have heroic qualities - virtue, loyalty, intelligence, fighter, honesty, strength, perseverance, commitment, inspiration, human kindness. What was peculiar is that I didn't have one man on my list other than the obvious (my dad) and I really couldn't think of any other men.

I come from a family that consists of primarily females (32 of them to be exact) and a culture where the woman is the matriarch while the man is the breadwinner. I was fascinated with the woman's role in the family, workplace and world. When I was at university I got my minor in gender studies (a.k.a. feminism). I studied women in politics, art & culture, the corporate world and in religion. I read books about female statistics, historical changes and stereotypes. Now, as a single mom who works full time and was the breadwinner I naturally gravitate to female role models.

I had 6 more heroes I had to find, so my friend challenged me to find 6 men who I would consider my heroes. So, what's the problem? I took a shower (my favorite thinking spot) after we hung up and I started to really think about our conversation. What I realized is that to me a man not only has to have qualities x, y & z, but also qualities a - w to qualify to be considered my hero. One misstep will strike him from my list of heroes.

HBO did a series on John Adams ... I watch it and was amazed by his virtue, yet to me it was his wife Abigail who was the real hero in the story. He depended on her in almost ever decision he ever made.

Does this make me a sexist? Do I simply set the bar way to high? Has feminism ruined my views of men? Has my heart been let down so many times that I simply expect males heroes to let me down so I simply don't include them?

Well, it is time to change that! Here are 6 men who are my heroes ...

1) My dad. He has set the bar for any man in my book. He is a loving husband, a supportive father, a gentle and fun grandfather, and a war hero. He is athletic, handy, meticulous, intelligent, dependable ... the list goes on.

2) My X's brother. He sacrificed his health and personal needs for his father without expectation or ego.

3) Michael J. Fox. Even through his health issues he represents strength, a dedicated husband and father, professionalism and generosity.

4) Ronald Regan. Actor to respected politician. A loving husband. A public face representing a disease that was relatively unknown.

5) The Dalai Lama. Do I really need to give an explanation for why he is one of my heroes?

6) The man who challenged me to come up with this list. He always strives to challenge himself to make his life better, fulfill every promise he makes, and is a true gentleman. He inspires me.

Now I challenge you to tell me your heroes of the opposite sex and why.


  1. Hi RLM,

    It is good to hear you do still have some male heroes. I have never thought much about my heroes - maybe I should, it seems to have helped you find a part of you that was hidden away.

    Very inspiring, you certainly got me thinking!

  2. My father - for being who he is and showing me that it is alright to live your life how you need to

    My oldest son - after having been through much in his young life, he is working his way through things with courage and determination and humor

    My youngest son - he is my rock

    And I like your choice on the The Dalai Lama as well agree with you on the John Adams Documentary - His wife was very impressive.

  3. Wow. this is harder than I thought. I think both your parents would be on my list as they are amazing people who I absolutely adore. I'm gonna have to think about this one!

  4. AnonymousJune 01, 2009

    My male heroes?

    My brother. He lives his life with such conviction and purpose. He is an inspiration.

    My former parish priest. He was everything a priest should be - a mentor, a guide, a thinker, and very, very human.

    My son. He's a passionate little boy who does nothing half-hearted. It's on or it's off, never half-assed. I'll be amazed to see what he becomes.

    FDR. A president who took an impossible situation and somehow got us through. We can only hope and work toward another turnaround.

    Harvey Milk. A great man who fought for the right to love and was killed for it.

  5. First, thank you JustMiss for your generous complement. I hope we never fall out of that pedestal.

    Yes, all the heroes that come to my mind are all females. The saying "there is a woman behind every successful man" holds true, not to mention that women have also been the demise of many men.

    Yes, your Dad is undoubtedly my hero. Of course Jesus, my spiritual hero. Whether he is a mere prophet or the son of God, He gives me hope and a lot of strength. But, besides all the obvious known personalities there is one person I consider a hero, someone who is not publicly famous. He was my boss right after college, Ben Dolin. A man who gave me the chance and encouraged me to achieve my potential. A man who respects women for their intelligence and ability. A man who resisted playing corporate politics if it meant compromising his convictions. He was also a loving, devoted husband and father, and a good friend for over 40 years.

    There are still heroes to be made. The person that will provide you stability and happiness will certainly be on my list.