A Hero For Our Time
An American tourist in Tel Aviv was about to enter the impressive
Mann Auditorium to take in a concert by the Israel Philharmonic. He
was admiring the unique architecture, the sweeping lines of the
entrance, and the modern decor throughout the building. Finally he
turned to his escort and asked if the building was named for Thomas
Mann, the world famous author.
"No," his friend said, "it's named for Fredric Mann, from
"Really? I never heard of him. What did he write?" the tourist
There are many kinds of heroes, and Fredric Mann may be considered a
hero by concert goers in Tel Aviv. But you don't have to be famous
(or wealthy) to be heroic. Nor do you have to pull a child from a
burning building or throw yourself atop a hand grenade. Heroes come
in many varieties. In fact, you may have never imagined yourself
much of a hero, but you could be wrong. I'm not talking about comic
book super-heroes, but real people making a real difference.
Heroes should not be confused with celebrities. Fame is fickle.
Former American football coach and broadcaster Lou Holtz knew how
fleeting fame can be. He once said, "I've been on the top and I've
been on the bottom. At Arkansas my first year, we won the Orange
Bowl. Then everybody loved me. They put me into the Arkansas Hall of
Fame and issued a commemorative stamp in my honor. The next year we
lost to Texas and they had to take away the stamp because people
kept spitting on the wrong side of it."
Celebrities come and go, but heroes last. Some celebrities are far
from heroes, and some heroes are far from famous. But well-known or
not, all heroes have something in common. They make a difference.
To my way of thinking, Kenyan runner Kipchoge Keino is a hero. Keino
won a gold medal in the 1,500 meters at the 1968 Olympics, in spite
of suffering from a gallbladder infection. At later Olympics, he
would add another gold and two silvers to his medal collection.
Kenya later chose Keino to serve as the running coach for its
Olympic teams from 1976 to 1986. Under his guidance, Kenyan runners
continued to distinguish themselves in the world of sports.
But that is not why I consider him heroic. He was an outstanding
athlete and one of the world's best in his field. His
accomplishments are enough for Kenyans, and the world, to celebrate
him. But celebrities and heroes are not always the same. Kip Keino
is a hero.
You see, for most of their lives together, Kip and his wife Phyllis
have been running an orphanage out of their home. In addition to
their own seven children, they have raised and nurtured hundreds of
other youngsters who needed a loving home. Still, every child is
treated like family. And on top of all of this, Kip Keino's new
foundation has built a primary and secondary school in Eldoret,
Kenya, to give kids the most important gift a young person can ever
receive -- a chance.
Make no mistake. Kip Keino is not a millionaire. But I appreciate
what he says about his work: "I think I have been lucky. Now what is
important is how I use what I have to help others."
I know that what he says applies to me, too. What is important is
how I use what I have to help others -- no matter how little or how
much I think I have.
American celebrity Ben Stein put it similarly. He said, "I came to
realize that a life lived to help others is the only one that
You see, that is what it means to be a hero. Real heroes are not
always famous. Real heroes may not be flashy. They may have never
saved a life nor shown extraordinary bravery. But they ardently,
even obsessively, live their lives to help others. And they make a
~ Steve Goodier ~
[ by: Steve Goodier - Copyright © 2011 - from Steve Goodier (LifeSupport@yahoogroups.com) ]
All Rights Reserved.