Heroes are made, not born
The first time a child looks up at you and says “You’re my hero,” or something to that effect, your thoughts stumble for a moment. If you’re like me, when my grandson Booga said it to me the other day, I thought “Well, if you really knew what went on inside my head you’d think differently.”
Then again, I’m an honest nut. I’m happy to own up to my faults because it reminds me I’m human. For me, there’s comfort in that thought process. I don’t have to worry about being perfect all the time.
What is really great about my relationship with Booga is that he loves me in spite of my faults.
Anyway, who would want to be infallible?
Some people believe that role models should be immune to faults.
While that is all good in theology, the practical side of that idea is doomed to failure.
People make mistakes, which is what makes them human.
What makes true greatness is the triumph of the human spirit amid the everyday tragedies. The grit and determination of trying one more time, one more day, going one more mile and lasting an extra minute while struggling to be the best a person can be. True greatness is found by regular mistake-making people in out-of-the-way places, doing great things every day with humble hearts without any expectation of a return.
I am not sure that a person who lives an absolute perfect life is the best one to go to for advise or inspiration when the chips are down.
How do they know what to do when they have never had to face a problem or live somewhere between the black and white rules of the world? If you don’t know what the color gray looks like — in all of its hues and shades — then you really can’t appreciate the finality of black and white.
Would they even know there was black (wrong) or white (right)?
Life with only two colors in the crayon box would be pretty dull. It’s still dull with all those potential grays included, but at least a person is better off than before.
Living a life filled with myriad of colors is a life filled with various experiences, flavors.
When I was a kid Lifesavers hard candy was one of my favorites. It was a real treat to get one of the rolls as part of my allowance, even as a teenager. I was thrilled when my father would give me Butter Rum flavored ones after cashing his paycheck on a Thursday night.
My favorite part of Christmas was getting the Lifesaver “book,” eight rolls of candy. I wasn’t a fan of the peppermint, wintergreen or cherry flavors. Those were traded away to my friends or my cousins.
If you’re curious what Lifesavers has to do with being human, well, as my grandfather would say “That’s a long stretch to get to a point.”
Remember, I warned you about being a nut:
In 1912, Clarence A. Crane was in the market to create a new candy to supplement his chocolate business that slumped in the hot weather. He developed a line of hard candy mints and hired a pill manufacturer to press the mints into shape. However, there was a problem with the machines and the candy ended up with the famous holes in the middle, making them look like tiny life preservers. Crane’s Life Savers were born.
A year later Edward J. Noble bought the recipe and created Pep-O-Mint Lifesavers and used his marketing genius to promote the candy into a thriving business.
And today there are more than 50 types — if you include the sugar free candies and the specialty flavors from overseas — available to the public. There’s probably an equal amount of flavors that were tried and removed from the market for lack of sales over the years. (Not sure about malt flavored mints.)
That tiny candy started out with a flaw more than 100 years ago, and it’s still going strong today.
That’s a success story. That’s a role model.
It’s also a very human story about endurance.
I think I’ll share it with Booga over a roll of Butter Rum Lifesavers — or maybe he’d like the watermelon better?