Heroes: Olympic and otherwise…

The 30th Summer Olympiad came to a close in London last night and, speaking from the comfort of my own chair, I thought London did a fabulous job!  In fact, their Olympic torch is probably my absolute favorite—leaves with the names of all the different competing nations engraved on individual parts that rose and joined to create a unified source of inspiration for those competing in the games.  It was a beautiful representation of the games and the spirit of camaraderie they engender.

Throughout the previous two weeks, we’ve been able to see the competitors of varying sports and we’ve been given insight into what brought some of them to this point in their athletic careers.  We’ve been treated to sights of glorious efforts to excel and seen passionate tears in both triumph and defeat.  In addition to the actual games themselves, I’ve enjoyed this time of Olympic heroes and hearing all the wonderful stories of how these committed people began to show signs of talent—maybe just enjoyment!— and how those around them began to encourage the development of skills which helped bring them to where they are today. 

The Games are over, however, and today we return to the regularly scheduled programming of our normal lives with all of the media coverage and the 24 hour “on” life available to us.  The subjects of our stories will shift once more and I, for one, will wonder aloud that we take too loosely that “hero” and “role model” idea.  I believe those terms should be reserved for those who actually exhibit characteristics that are worthy to be emulated, not just skills acquired through hours of practice and genetic ability or beauty, the family you in which were privileged to be born or the wealth you’ve been privileged to inherit. 

Individually, you and I can’t change the national media coverage, but what if we began to look around at those we love and encourage the development of character and the use of ideas to improve our world right where we are?  What if we embraced the fundamental idea that God made every single person you’ll ever see, so there is an inherent value there?  What if we began to compliment people on their kindness and generosity or taking a back seat so someone else can give it a shot instead of being the center of attention at all times?  What if we started complimenting people as we saw fruit of the Spirit in action?  What if THAT became our benchmark?  What if, in the process, we became the standard in our communities?

It can happen.  Let’s not wait four more years to celebrate the ‘heroes’ in our midst.  Who will you celebrate today?  Share with me!

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