Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

I Want You to Meet My Heroes

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My heroes have no super powers. They can’t, to my knowledge, blow anything up. They probably don’t run very fast and can’t jump very far. I didn’t challenge them to an arm wrestling match, but I doubt they are very strong.

They did for me what I couldn’t do. They did it even though I didn’t realize I needed them to.

You will never know their names. You will never again hear about them after reading this article. You will certainly never see them on TV or in a movie. They will never receive an award or be celebrated by anyone.

They are just normal people who made a not so normal decision to love.

photo by Omnitographer

What is a Hero?

Our made up stories of heroes make us feel like we can’t be heroes ourselves. They suggest you need a super power and an alter ego. Such heroes save people and occasionally rescue stranded cats out of trees.

But this is my definition:

Heroes do good stuff for other people. And they do it out of love.

They especially do what another person can’t do for themselves.

Heroes make sacrifices. Heroes step in. Heroes get involved. Heroes do more than is expected.

Being a hero isn’t about what gifts you have or what you are talented at. More than anything being a hero is about doing.

The Need for a Hero

My adopted son had a difficult start to life. He was abandoned shortly after birth. No note was left. His parents’ identities never discovered. We don’t even know his exact birthdate. The date we use is a guess.

His life was an unfair result of a difficult government policy combined with immense cultural pressures. None of it was even his fault. To use a cliche, his only mistake was being born.

Orphaned children struggle developing normally, especially psychosocially. During the early years it seems that babies do very little except cry at the wrong times, eat, and dirty their britches.

But inside their little minds and hearts, there is so much going on.

Every time you cried as a baby and someone picked you up and held you and fed you and wiped your butt, something important was happening. You were being loved. Your needs were met. And deep down inside, you knew everything was going to be okay.

It seems that at the core of our being, we have a need to be loved. But for orphans, this need can go unmet.

It is said that orphanages can be eerily quiet. Over time, babies that are left to themselves when they cry, eventually stop crying. It isn’t something I can even imagine. A wall goes up between their heart and the rest of the world. It’s the only way to survive in a world devoid of love.

Every orphaned child needs a hero.

What a Hero Does

My son’s heroes came in the form of a foster family. Having been born in the poorest province in a country known for extreme poverty, there were few chances he would ever receive this type of attention.

But a family said yes. A family stepped up. A family did more than anyone asked of them.

I”m certain it was hard. I’m certain it was inconvenient. Yes, they probably received some benefits from the government for their service. You could potentially argue that they were paid to feed him and change his pants.

But the government can’t make you love.

Even more important than meeting basic needs, they gave him themselves. They opened their hearts to him and he learned to open his heart in return. And now he is secure enough in himself to open his heart to us.

They did all of this knowing it would be temporary. They did it knowing that one day they would hand this little boy they gave so much to, over to strangers.

They gave to him knowing that it would break their hearts.

Everyday Heroes

We need more heroes in this world. We need people to do this kind of work. Who step up to offer what they have for the good of others.

To be a hero it doesn’t take that much. You don’t need super powers. You don’t need billions of dollars. You don’t need the right opportunity, in fact we are surrounded by opportunities every day.

To be hero all you need is to do is choose to love and then choose to do. (Tweet that.)

Who is your hero?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.


About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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17 Replies

  1. Wow. Great post, Jeremy. Thank you for being willing to be another one of Jude’s heroes.

  2. Gene

    Eric Liddell for me. Excellent post. I just finished reading “The Christian World of the Hobbit” by Devin Brown, and he writes of a similar perspective that J.R.R. Tolkien addressed in “The Hobbit”. Brown quoted this passage of Gandalf speaking to Bilbo from the book: “But you know well enough now that starting is too great a claim for any, and that only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero.” God gives us all the power we need to humbly serve as a hero to those in need long before we might even realize the opportunity.

  3. Mike Zserdin

    Thanks Jeremy, it’s easy to step away and insulate ourselves from a messy, broken world. You’re not letting us go to that safe place. Thanks man.

  4. Sabine

    My hero is my Mom. She battled against her cancer and survived unusually long because she wanted to be sure that her children would make it on their own once she would be gone. This attitude inspired my whole life.

  5. Anne Frank. She fought back with optimism and writing and daily joys. And she was just 12 years old. Superhero

  6. The entirety of adoption: foster families, birth moms that choose to adopt, orphans in general, case workers, government agencies trying to serve orphans, people who choose to adopt, those who support adoption, those who write about adoption, those who consider adopting, those who’ve been adopted, those who will never be adopted, organizations serving orphans, organizations helping place orphans.

  7. My dad. It’s crazy how much I’ve looked up to him and didn’t even realize it. He’s a man that’s taken care of two families in two different eras. He’s done his best to care for his children along with his wife. He’s always willing to give of himself to help those around. My dad’s a pretty amazing guy.

  8. I like how you brought up everyone, even the government agencies who seem to slow down the process, but have it as their goal to protect children.

  9. It is amazing when someone fights back with optimism and joy isn’t it?

  10. Thanks for sharing. She sounds amazing.

  11. Better stories aren’t safe.

  12. The thing I like about Liddell is that his gold medal is only the side story. He did some incredible work in China as a missionary, and I bet to him, this is was the major plot in his story.

  13. It’s incredibly frustrating when things slow down and it’s your case being slowed, but I know a ton of people were involved in helping us get our first child home. Even the folks at our sheriff’s office helping us get our first set of fingerprints completed for our FBI background check. Thanks for discussing adoption.

  14. Mike Zserdin

    Ben Nockels @111project is cool. So are the folks at the Spero Project. Stepping into messy stories.

  15. Thanks for sharing these heroes.

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