The title of this post as many of you will have recognised (and maybe even sang it in your head) a line from Whitney Houston’s hit ‘The Greatest love of all’.
I think we all need heroes in our lives to inspire us and give us hope, to encourage us and to be an example.
We will have heroes as children and also in our adulthood, and if you are anything like me then some of them will be the same.
As a child I took heroes from many different places. I took them from books such as ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ where I was drawn to Peter and more so to Aslan.
There were also super heroes and as I child I had my first encounter with Superman. As I child i remember watching ‘Superman the movie’ with the iconic theme tune by John Williams. That was the first viewing of many and led to many a coat, jumper, towel etc being tied around my neck as I “flew” around the garden saving all of the people my young mind could conjure up. Superman stood up for what was right and used his gifts and powers to save others and to beat the bad guys. He is a symbol of hope and integrity and that really struck a chord in me as a child. That coupled with the fact that he could fly and had laser beam eyes had me hooked.
Other honourable mentions go to Batman, Spiderman and Thor but Superman was always my Super hero of choice and as an adult I have had many an argument with other grown men about who is the best super hero.
I had heroes from cartoons and although often more light-hearted still had characteristics and exploits that resonated with something within me. These included people like Danger Mouse and Super Ted and the serious contenders such as He-Man, Thundercats and my favourites, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I would spend hours drawing the Turtles, watching the show and getting giddy when the movie came out.
As I got a bit older I started watching more films and with that came more heroes to relate to, be inspired by and to imagine myself as. There was ‘The Goonies’, who were a group of normal kids that set off on an adventure and got a lot more than they bargained for. Their motto is “Goonies never say die” which was something that I could buy into. Indiana Jones, Luke Skywalker, Ferris Bueller and a lot more but then came Rocky Balboa……..
The first time I watched ‘Rocky’, I was spellbound. I didn’t move, talk, or take my gaze off the screen until the credits had finished rolling, and even then, I only moved to go and find my shorts and T-shirt so that I coulld start training to be a boxer. It was the ultimate story of the underdog. The man that overcame so many obstacles and hardships. He paid the price for being humble and nice. He got mocked for a lack of intelligence, ability and resources. He overcame all of these to defy the odds, much to my joy and celebration.
The Rocky movie poster that hangs on a wall in our house has the tag line “His whole life was a million to one shot” I love Rocky Balboa and still get excited when watching it now, even though I know pretty much every word. The music still motivates me and although it’s a bit cliché, the soundtrack is my gym playlist. After watching any of Rocky 1-4 I still want to go training in the street and hammer wrecked cars or punch animal carcasses. That is because Rocky inspired me, allowed me to dream, showed me that the odds can be overcome and allowed me to see what courage, determination and desire can achieve, especially when you have the “Eye of the tiger” Even writing this I am getting all energised and humming the tune as I type.
History, sport, politics, current affairs and entertainment offered up positive role models too and I had heroes from all, including William Wilberforce, Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, Nelson and Eric Cantona (What a man).
They all taught me things and helped me identify things within them that I wanted to reflect within me and my life.
There were also people in my life who inspired me and shaped me more than they will ever know. People from my family, friends, school, church etc that I won’t name through fear of embarrassing them, especially as I haven’t asked permission.
Maybe I need to “Just tell them….” (See previous posts)
All of these people helped me see the person that I wanted to become or that I wanted to be at that time. Many of them were only for that time in my life, but many have displayed an act or have a story that has inspired me through the years. Some I look back with fondness and smile about a time when I needed those heroes in my life. Others though have stood the test of time, I refer to them frequently and I often find myself asking “What would Rocky do?”
Heroes are great and we all need them, whether they be fictional characters, people we know, people we knew, figures that are central to our faith or anything else. We all need to be inspired, to be challenged to believe, given the courage to look beyond the obstacles and to be given permission to overcome.
The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows……and that is why heroes are important to us all.
At the end of the day it is you that needs to live your life and you that is faced with the obstacles that your life brings. You are the one who each day has to find a way to overcome, to go beyond and to dig deep. That is the very reason that sometimes we have to take all of the examples of the heroes that we have taken from life and we have to become our own hero. We have to rise above the problems, pick up the pieces of the mess we find ourselves in, protect the ones we love, find the money to get by, stand up for what is right. We have to do that, We have to be the ones that strive for the win, that push through to claim the victory and that makes you a hero.
I would be delighted to hear who your heroes are so feel free to comment. Superman is definitely the greatest super hero though 😉