I recently watched the famed 1997 Disney release, Hercules. This movie, like all Disney movies, is glossy, flashy, and full of action. You have hit songs lacing the entire film, none bigger than Go the Distance. This song was so big that the only thing that stopped it from getting the Academy Award for Best Song was the mega-hit, My Heart Will Go On off the soundtrack for a little number called Titanic!
Out of all of the messages seemlessly weaved into this instant classic there was one that somehow I forgot. There is this conversation between Zeus and Hercules after Hercules has come into his own. Zeus previously promised Hercules that if he becomes a true hero then he can get his God-hood back (I’m paraphrasing). Now Hercules has defeated a few monsters and he’s convinced he has arrived. The line that killed me was:
“But, Father, I’ve defeated every single monster I’ve come up against. I-I’m… I’m the most famous person in all of Greece. I’m… I-I’m an action figure!”
As he says this line he thrust a mini figurine of himself up in the direction of his Dad.
Zeus, the wise leader of the pantheon of Greek Gods, gives him an answer that I wish I could plaster across the cosmos for all eternity:
“I’m afraid being famous isn’t the same… as being a true hero.”
In a day & age when fame is revered; where athletes, actresses, and musicians set the trends of the masses because of their fame how can we remind children (and sometimes ourselves) that this is not enough to be a TRUE HERO. Fame is only a platform and, honestly, it is missused more times than not.
So what makes a hero a HERO?
According to Disney it is the willingness to sacrifice all for someone else. In Hercules’ case he is willing to die to save the soul of the woman he loved, Meg. This act, in-turn, does not kill him but triggers the reinstatement of his immortality.
I think there is a little divinity inside each of us. Yet, just like Hercules, it can only become fully realized when we are willing to sacrifice everything for a worthy cause. Who fits these qualifications? Social Workers, Teachers, Prison Chaplain, Soldiers, Police Officers, and Fire Fighters come to mind.
So who would you nominate to be a TRUE HERO and how are you crafting your life so that you can fall into this category?
Are we directing our lives towards fame -or- heroism?