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Gavin Sharples
 
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Fallen Heroes

18 February 2013, 14:00

As I sit here today, Oscar Pistorius has been arrested and has spent his first nights in jail. Lance Armstrong has recently outed himself and is the biggest cheat in sporting history. The media doesn't have enough front pages to report on government officials who are stealing, raping and plundering our nation. It's enough to make you want to just throw your hands in the air and give up!

What amazes me is how the first instinct of people, when hearing a “hero" could possibly be not so perfect, is to immediately to try and rationalise, justify or defend their beliefs about their hero. It's almost as if our belief system is under attack. And it is.

Remember that many believe their “beliefs” to be more than just preferential thinking patterns. People believe their beliefs are who they are as people.

“I am my “beliefs”, they are me”, they are us; they are our group, our sect, our tribe. Questioning of my beliefs is questioning my being, my fathers being, my grandfathers being and our ancestor’s justification for all actions on planet Earth. So don't FAQ with the beliefs.

People go to war over their beliefs. ‘Beliefs’ are the foundation of all actions. Read that last one again and let it sink in.

If Oscar shot Reeva in cold blood, you may be asking what that says about you, your principles, your values, and your judge of character. What hope is there? Can you ever hold anyone in high regard ever again? If Lance Armstrong, scratch that - now that Lance Armstrong is the most obnoxious cheat in sporting history, what does that say about you (not me) proudly wearing a yellow bracelet for years, supporting him and buying his books (suckers). I even heard of people paying tens of thousands of Rand just to ride a bicycle next to him. Don't they feel like idiots now? Guess they couldn't keep up because their chemist is a guy from Clicks, and his is a Spaniard with a doping degree!

What does it say about the future of the world when our role models turn out to be scoundrels, cheats or even (and it's not proven yet) murderers?

WHY DO WE HERO WORSHIP?

Do we have such little hope for ourselves and our future that we continually have to hero worship other human beings? Do we believe so little in ourselves that we have to try and live our lives according to others’ supposed values and philosophies?

It's okay maybe for children to have hero princesses and he-man super heroes or even rugby or soccer players. But, when grown a$$ men walk around with football, rugby or baseball team shirts with the names of other men on them, I just want to puke.

How low is their self-image? How insecure are they when they have to have Ronaldo, Messi, Matfield, Jordan, or Nathaniel’s name on their back or chest?

How low is their personal pride that they feel they can in some way elevate their appearance – their likability – by having another man's name on their chest? And have they taken the time to understand the value system of these people they are wearing and supporting?

My best are the Che Guevara shirts. I bet you 99% of all these lonely, poor self-image, single, T-shirt wearing, fashion wannabes who are looking for love and respect, have no clue who the man was, what he actually did, who he killed and what he really stood for or the impact his actions had on millions of Cubans. Cubans, who still to this day, as they have done for more than 40 years, are fleeing the country in boats and rafts. My research tells me he was nothing more than a cold-blooded murdering terrorist. But I suppose one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter!

We seem to want to put people on pedestals and then we get crushed and disappointed when we discover that they are nothing special, but some are worse human beings than most.

Why do we also place sporting personalities and actors so high up our idolising pole? These are NOT people who cured cancer. They don't work with and support dying children! They have never cracked open a chest giving someone a new heart or valve! They kick a ball, they run fast; they bowl, bat or shoot hoops for crying out loud!

Actors pretend to be other people and they speak words that others spoke before them or words that were created or written for them. They dress up and play-act, (usually portraying real-life people) - people who actually achieved something in their lives. They pretend to be people who really did make a difference. But even these true life heroes being portrayed were not perfect.

Just research and read about people like Martin Luther King (not his real name). Read about his affairs, penchant for prostitutes and how he treated woman and ask why all the evidence files are locked away, and why they have a day in his name.

Gandhi makes another fascinating research subject when we discover the type of husband and father he was, and his beliefs in the caste system in India. Conspiracy theorist unit, I just believe where there is smoke….

Does it take away from what they did? No. Not unless you’ve pedestalled them perfect, and imagined them to be all things to everyone.

History is full of imperfect, flawed heroes. In the history of mankind, I really don't believe a perfect man has ever been created. Most if not all, have flaws and faults. Some achieve remarkable feats in their lives (like Oscar) and then we are shocked to find them in situations that go against all the other hype and make-believe we have created in our minds and by the media, about how perfect they are!

TAKE - HOME MESSAGE

  1. Don't put anyone on a pedestal.

Real heroes won't want to be there anyway. Admire them for the field they are in. Use what they have achieved as an example that you could aspire to in your area of expertise. True heroes do exist. Perfect heroes don't. I have even titled my new book, how to be a real man. Not a perfect man, a better man, and eventually a real man.

  1. True heroes, in my opinion, wake up each day and go to a thankless job, where they try to make a difference and do their best to earn a salary to take home to give a better life to their kids.

They make ends meet, give their children love, support and the best education they can afford. They go without, sit up till late nursing their little girls’ cold or worrying what time their boy will be back from the dance. My heroes are the everyday moms and dads who give up their lives for their kids, with no recognition or need for it. My heroes are the people who work hard every day and who are not happy because they get what they want, they are happy with what they get and strive for more.

  1. Stop looking for heroes and be a hero to someone yourself.

The world needs heroes and examples! So be that hero and although the media are all over Pistorius and Armstrong and their ilk, don't lose faith. Just because something is not so, doesn't mean that it cannot be so. Believe that people are intrinsically good, that there are heroes, not perfect heroes but men and woman who do and can make a difference just like you.

Who you are makes a difference no matter what anybody says. If you think no one cares just miss a payment! You may not have the lights, cameras, fame, money, fortune, admiration and recognition - but what you do and who you are, is what makes the difference. Be your own role model and hero and in no time people will want to be like you.

I've added at the bottom of this page the words to a fantastic song that was given to me by my guidance teacher when I matriculated. Read the words listen to the song.

Have a great month

Love, light, laughter and a gentle prayer for all those who have lost their lives this month.

Gav

THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL

Everybody's searching for a hero

I never found anyone to fulfil my needs

a lonely place to be so I learned to depend on me

I decided long ago never to walk in anyone's shadow

if I fail if I succeed at least I'd lived as I believed no matter what they take from me they can't take away my dignity

Because the greatest love of all is happening to me

I found the greatest love of all inside of me

The greatest love of all is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.

"The Greatest Love of All" written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed originally recorded by George Benson

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