Heroes…Are Made by the Paths They (We) Choose

Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with Brodi Ashton

My life has been blessed with many heroes. Some have done things as simple as giving me a ride to church. Others have given me advice. Some have provided a positive example (often without even knowing it).

I hope your life has been blessed with heroes as well!

I believe in heroes and the positive impact they have on our world! I believe that some of the most important heroes the world has ever known has been those heroes that have been known by just one or two individuals. A hero does not have to be world famous to be a hero in my book.

I am especially thankful to those heroes who have overcome significant obstacles and who have persevered despite difficulties. Today’s story tells of one such hero. I hope it will inspire you as it has inspired me!

AN UNLIKELY HERO

CHILDHOOD

As an infant, he was largely abandoned to a nanny. His mother, in fact, rarely saw him. His dad almost never did.

At 7 years old, he was sent to a boarding school where he proved to be literally the worst in his class. His parents got reports that declared their son “seems unable to learn anything.”

He was punished severely, once being dragged into a room and beaten until bloody for school infractions. He changed schools after his nanny discovered welts on his back from the beatings once he was home on break.

He made no friends in school.

His mom rarely visited him and even forgot to send him Christmas presents; His dad also failed to visit him at school—ever—even when he was nearby and his son wrote letters asking him to stop by.

His letters were never even answered. Dear dad didn’t even know exactly how old his own son was.

TEEN YEARS

Later, as a teen, his father wouldn’t let him go to the best school saying his son would just embarrass him, that he was “such a stupid boy.” He just couldn’t accept that kind of public humiliation from that “damned impudent little idiot.”

Again, in high school, he did not fair too well. As if to underscore that fact, on parent visitation days, while other kids’ parents came to see their children, his never did.

The class would march out in rank order, from the highest score to the lowest. He was always dead last. His parents were embarrassed, so stayed home. He felt the sting of it, as he said, “sharply.” Certainly a gross understatement.

COLLEGE

When he proudly wrote his dad telling him he had been accepted into military college, his dad finally wrote back to say, “You are a constant disappointment to me …. Not only are you a complete failure … I see nothing ahead of you but failure… Do not write me anymore; I do not wish to hear anything more from you.”

The same year the son graduated from military college, his dad died in lingering pain and agony after being brought home in a straight jacket, perhaps reflecting the emotional straight jacket he had helped secure around his son’s psyche for so many relentless years.

So who is this failure of a son? Who was it that went nowhere and did nothing? Who was it that was hampered by a loveless childhood with a detached mother and verbally and emotionally abusive father who never understood or cared for his own son?

WHO WAS THIS HAPLESS SON FROM AN UNHAPPY FAMILY?

He was an artist, winning several awards under a pseudonym.

He was a very successful author of several books (one winning him the Nobel Prize) making him a wealthy man.

He was the lone voice who saw war coming in the appeasement policies Nevel Chamberlain brokered with Germany.

He was made Prime Minister of England twice and presided over a successful war against the spread of Nazism.

His name was Sir Winston Churchill.

 

You are endowed with all that’s needed to lift your own life from the past, making something wonderful out of the spare parts.

Caveat: No one’s life is exactly like anyone else’s. So we can’t assume any direct correlation between his and ours.

Still, to see someone who rose from such childhood obscurity with so many emotional obstacles in the way, to such heights of success is inspiring nonetheless.

My hope has been to inspire you to a level of confidence that will be the push behind the next step closer to the life that awaits you.

AFTERTHOUGHTS

So what advice might Churchill offer a person living below their potential, someone trapped in the pain of their childhood, someone who yearns for something better, more meaningful, happier than what they’ve settled for?

He might say what he once told a graduating class of high school students:

“Never give up. Never, ever, ever give up.”

Story shared from the following website: http://meanttobehappy.com/the-extraordinary-story-of-an-unlikely-hero-your-past-does-not-predict-your-future/

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Everyone Can Be a Hero Through Service!

The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it Norman Schwarzkopf

So many emotions wash over me when I think of service. So many joyous memories gladden my heart.

I remember grandparents including me on their trips so that I would feel loved and cherished. I think of clerks with unknown names who have gone out of their way to provide me with great service. I smile as I think of teachers – both at school and at church who went the extra mile and who made sure that their students had both a name and an understanding of their worth. Memories of my father and his service to individuals I do not know come to mind. Professionals who worked tirelessly in behalf of my granddaughter gamer a special niche in that place within my heart. And, in addition to the numerous happy memories which hide in the recesses of my mind are the recollections of times with my sweetheart and family, so many of them filled with moments of thoughtfulness and acts of service.

I came across a young couple in my local hospital just a few weeks ago. I continue to think of them. I rode an elevator with that young couple. They had a seven month old baby boy in a stroller – their son. This couple was not from my hometown of Billings. They were from Bozeman. I don’t know all of the circumstances of their dilemma but I know that they started out in a hospital in Denver, Colorado and then got transferred to the hospital in Billings. Their baby boy smiled sweetly at me; his upper lip carved with two surgical scars. He had a tracheotomy – oxygen was being fed to him through his throat. I assume this sweet little guy was born in Denver under much duress. His parents shared that he had already been through two open heart surgeries in his short lifetime. They also shared that they had not been home for seven months. That means seven months of the smells and sterile cold walls of hospitals, agonizing over the health of their little guy, and no opportunity to find true rest and respite at home.

Every so often, I like to take items to our local Ronald McDonald House. What I bring is never very much and the effort required is small on my part. As I learned that this couple was staying at the Ronald McDonald house in Billings, My heart did a double take. Most of the time, my little stops at the Ronald McDonald house are made with little or no knowledge of the residents that are being housed there. All of a sudden, I felt guilty for being so aloof. What if I had taken the time to be more in tune with the personal needs of the residents? If I had, could I have lifted the burden this sweet couple had been carrying for a very long seven months? Calculate that into hospital time and you have what feels like lifetime.

That experience of just a few minutes has carried with me. I can’t do everything but I can do something. We all can do something!

As you read today’s inspiring story, think about how you could make a difference. No money has to be spent – time could be spent sitting with a loved one so their caretaker can have a break. Stories can be read to children. Even sharing patience instead of a grumpy scowl counts! I hope you enjoy today’s story – I also hope it inspires each of us to be a little more mindful of others that we share this world with!

A Family Saved

Lt. Bobby Qualls was shopping when he received a text message: Fire on Beechmont, one-story house, child trapped inside. “I was picking out gifts for the family our engine house adopted for Christmas,” remembers Qualls, who has been fighting fires in Memphis for 24 years. “I had this sinking feeling as I got in my car and headed over.”

The last time Qualls had been on Beechmont Street was to install smoke detectors at the Bateman-Tubbs home. He’d been on a secret mission to see if they needed an extra boost during the holidays. There he discovered that the four Bateman-Tubbs children were sleeping on bare mattresses, and he found two of the boys playing outside in 30-degree weather with no shoes or coats.

Qualls learned that Leonard Tubbs was doing his best to make ends meet laying floors while Kimberly Bateman stayed home with the kids.

“When Bobby told me his team wanted to be Secret Santas and buy my kids toys, at first I thought we didn’t need any help,” Bateman recalls. “It really touched me. I told him what the kids really needed was warm clothes.”

That’s exactly what Qualls was shopping for on December 9, 2008: winter jackets for Christopher, seven; JoJo, four; Madison, one; and two-month-old Charles. While driving over to Beechmont Street, he dialed Bateman’s cell phone. She answered on the first ring, screaming, “The house is on fire—JoJo’s trapped inside!”

By the time Qualls reached the house, the family had gotten out, but their home was severely damaged. His coworkers had found JoJo hiding under a pile of clothes in a back bedroom. He had stopped breathing and had been given CPR and rushed to the hospital. Qualls learned that JoJo was now on life support and might not make it through the night. He rushed to the hospital with Lt. Mark Eskew, who placed a stuffed teddy bear in a firefighter’s suit on JoJo’s bed.

“I just kept praying my little boy would open his eyes,” Bateman recalls. “There was nothing else I could do. They were pumping soot as black and thick as tar out of his lungs and stomach for days.”

After a few days, though, JoJo regained consciousness, and the tubes were taken out of his throat. While he began to slowly recover, the local newspaper and TV stations got hold of the story, and the Secret Santa mission of Qualls and his fellow firefighters snowballed. Before long, the fire station was overflowing with boxes of toys, food, toiletries, towels, and clothes. People called, wanting to donate furniture and appliances too. By December 23, Bateman and Tubbs had moved their kids into a new rental home. By Christmas Eve, JoJo was ready to leave the hospital, and the firefighters were ready to deliver the family their very own Christmas miracle.

“These guys aren’t just firefighters,” says Bateman, “they’re our guardian angels. If they hadn’t installed a smoke detector that first day they came to our house, we wouldn’t have known when the fire started. Then they went the extra ten miles to give us a Christmas.”

Story shared from the following website: http://www.rd.com/true-stories/inspiring/5-stories-that-celebrate-the-spirit-of-giving/2/

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A Hero…Is Someone Who Makes a Difference

A Hero is someone who has given his or her life to Something bigger than Oneself Joseph Campbell

The Power of Forgiveness

On June 8, 1972, during the Vietnam war, South Vietnamese forces dropped a napalm bomb onto the town of Trang Bang in North Vietnam. Photographer Nick Ut was there at the scene. He took a photo of a little girl, running away from her home village naked with a look of horror and pain on her face. Her clothes had been burned off. The photo became famous and won the Pulitzer Prize. The picture was a wake-up call to many about the horrifying reality of war and the damage done by the war in Vietnam.

The girl in the photo was Phan Thi Kim Phúc and she was 9 years old. She survived the incident, but with severe burn scars all over her body. The doctors doubted she would survive. Kim, only a little child, had to stay at the hospital for 14 months, going through many operations, and then had to go through years of therapy. But she survived, and eventually moved back to her home village to live a normal life with her family.

While at college, she met a man with severe burn scars on his arm from having rescued someone from a burning building. A girl she knew made a comment on his scars, saying that nobody would want to date someone with such ugly scars. Kim thought about how her scars were much worse. This caused her great emotional turmoil – she couldn’t bring herself to eat, sleep or study for 3 days. Eventually, through prayer and self-talk, she managed to pull herself together again. However, she didn’t think she would ever find a boyfriend or a husband. But she did find a boyfriend, whom she eventually married and had her 2 sons with. Her husband says that if anything, the scars make him love her more.

Kim admits she felt bitterness and hate over the incident, which left her with chronic physical pain. She often wondered why it had to happen to her. But she soon realized that she needed to overcome these negative emotions to find peace. She needed to forgive, so she could move on for good. After she had forgiven those that were responsible for the event, she felt at peace.

On Veteran’s day, 1996, Vietnam war veterans gathered to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. Kim was also there. She gave a speech about the attack she survived. She talked about how she no longer felt anger towards those responsible, as she had found the strength to forgive them. Suddenly, John Plummer, the pilot who was in the plane that dropped the bomb, stood up and started moving towards Kim. He shouted to her that he was responsible and that he was sorry. Kim came down from the stage and hugged him, and told him he was forgiven.

Kim believed she survived what happened because of a higher purpose, and that the event was necessary to teach her a lesson about helping and forgiving others. In 1996 she founded the Kim Phuc Foundation, that helps other child victims of war. That same year she also became a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She found joy in helping people, visiting other victims of war at hospitals and giving them hope. Her strength to forgive, positive attitude and tireless efforts to help others inspire everyone she meets.

Story shared from the following website: http://forinspiredlives.blogspot.com/2011/03/overcoming-tragedy-3-inspiring-stories.html

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