Who Are Your Heroes?

Who Are Your Heroes?

Tell me your heroes, and I'll tell you what you want to be. Tell me what you think about, and I'll tell you what you will be.

Farfetched? Not at all. For we become like the people we set up as heroes.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's story of Ernest and the "Great Stone Face" illustrates this. Ernest, a country boy, lived within sight of the Great Stone Face in New Hampshire. A legend said that someday a former resident, who resembled the huge man-likeness which towered over the lovely valley, would appear in the valley. The supposed heroes came: a great financial wizard, showering gold coins over the crowd; a famous military hero, resplendent in uniform and medals; a famous statesman, noted for his oratory; and others, noted in some field. After the shouting died down, the residents knew the man had not yet come.

Finally, they recognized the long-sought hero. It was Ernest, now grown old and wise. All his life he had looked upon the Great Stone Face until its stern, kindly visage had become his own. Its very facial characteristics were seemingly transplanted to his own countenance. He, Ernest, had become like the Great Stone Face.

What heroes do you worship? What is your ideal? Whom do you want to be like? Not that you can become, in fame or in national reputation, like your heroes. But their attitudes, their characters, will become yours in a mysterious fashion, as Ernest's countenance became like the Great Stone Face.

About 1940 a famous blonde movie actress wore a lock of hair over one eye. Silly? Maybe. But millions of young girls—blonde, brunette, and redheaded—started draping a lock over an eye. Ask your parents if they remember this feminine fad.

More recently a guitar-playing singer wore long sideburns. All over America, young boys in their teens told the barber not to cut off those sideburns. The fad even spread to England and Europe.

Pick out great heroes, and imitate their best qualities. Thank goodness for Florence Nightingale, the "lady with the lamp." She started the modern profession of nursing. Millions of registered nurses now imitate her skill, patience, faithfulness, and love for the suffering. She is their heroine and the world is a better place for their hero worship.

Thomas Alva Edison, America's greatest inventor, has inspired thousands of American boys to patient, never-flagging research and discovery. We owe him a vast debt for his discoveries. But we also owe him a greater debt for the example he set for American youth. Without him, American history would be poorer.

Jesus Christ is mankind's greatest hero. Long after others are forgotten, he will tower high as the greatest Man. Strange that one who died on the cross should be a hero. But his qualities of love, patience, forgiveness of enemies, doing good, trust in God, faith in us, and devotion to the right are the qualities we know are worth living for and dying for.

If you make him your hero, your life will be worth living. Study his life in the four Gospels. Read how, even in death, he conquered his enemies. Learn how he forgave those who killed him.

His is the greatest life ever lived. He is the greatest hero of them all. Imitate him, and your life will be great too.

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