Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Heroes and what it means to me

After watching Captain America, I got thinking to superheroes and how I have always admired superheroes.  I feel like these days, kids don't really have superheroes or even heroes that they can look up to from the entertainment point of view.

When I was growing up, I loved cartoons about superheroes, comic book characters, secret identities.  My favourite superhero then (and even now) is Spiderman.  I could really relate to Spidey, he was a nerdy sciency kid who was bitten by a radioactive spider and turned into an amazing Spiderman, with superhuman abilities.  And of course what do we do with new found abilities?  We use it for money and glory.  But he learned his lesson the hard way with the loss of his uncle when a criminal escaped that he could have stopped, gunned down his beloved Uncle Ben.  And the words his uncle spoke to him:

With great power, comes great responsibility.

I really looked up to Spidey, I wanted to be Spiderman!  I wanted to be nerdy by day and a superhero by night, with nobody knowing who I was and being your "friendly neighbourhood Spiderman".  Perhaps I am still naive with the wholesome look that he had, but at least I had my hero.

So, watching Captain America, I was really moved by the character.  I never really read the comic but I knew how he came to be, a nerdy sickly kid who wanted to join the army, used as a human experiment to create a supersoldier.  But when I watched the movie, I saw the hero that he was within, not just the meat shield that he was on the outside.

This is why you were chosen. Because a strong man, who has known power all his life, will lose respect for that power. But a weak man knows the value of strength. And knows compassion.

God what a great line!  And it totally makes a hero in my book!

Batman, another great hero.  No super powers, just intelligent, aloof, dark.  And he doesn't use guns.  I love intelligent superheroes.  A superhero who hides beneath the playboy exterior, a total opposite to the hero that he really is.

 It's not who I am underneath, but what I *do* that defines me.

I miss those days of the superhero.  Where we would imagine that we could be like them, be great like them, and yet keep our accomplishments hidden, not doing it for the glory but for your own sense of good and justice.  I don't see the same qualities in any of the modern day heroes.  But perhaps it's because these days the hero is the ordinary man, doing extraordinary things.  Maybe it's wrong to believe in the fantastic, or wish for the unachievable, and perhaps focus more on reality.  More on the real heroes.  People who work hard for the community.  People who do things for the sickly.  People who take care of those less fortunate than them.
But they are all heroes.  They all have a sense of duty, a sense of doing what is right.  And that is what I want my kids to learn - to do what is right, and not do it for the glory, but do it in secret for yourself.

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