According to Berg, a hero is any person who inspired her personally. Many people have done great things all over the world. That makes them the world’s heroes. A personal hero however is the person who influenced or is still influencing your life in a direct way. These people teach us important lessons in life, making life worth living for us and those who did things worth emulating (Berg 75). To illustrate this, Berg mentions her English teacher who made her pass despite her naughty attitude. She also taught her the lesson of maintaining her position despite the pressure from other people to stoop low. Her grandfather is also her hero because he made their life interesting by telling them fascinating stories and performing tricks that would make them laugh. She also mentions her mother-in-law as her hero since she lived as an example to her by pursuing her lifetime dream career after retiring. The fact that she had the audacity of sitting back in a class and learning made her an icon of admiration to Berg. Finally, on her list of heroes are the terminally sick patients who face each day of their lives with so much enthusiasm and the people who have been in marriages for many years without divorcing. In my own opinion, I agree with Berg’s perception that heroes are not necessarily the great historical leaders, but the people who influence us in our day-to-day lives. In fact, some of these leaders have been a great disappointment with the example of Hitler, Sadam and Idi Amin among the other dictatorial leaders. Real heroes are those people who get out of their way to make life easier for others.
My understanding of the word hero refers to that person who has been of great influence to my life in any given stage and those who have had to endure a lot in their lives. I celebrate those heroes who demonstrated great confidence and courage and contributed to who I am today in terms of character, career development and attitude. One of these people who remain a great icon in my life is a trash man in our neighborhood. This man has been picking dirt in the estate as long as I can remember. When we were young, we used to sing insulting songs every time this man came around. We would throw dirt around when playing making allegations that if we kept the neighborhood clean, then the man would be paid for nothing. We even went to the extent of throwing litter behind him as he picked. He never took notice of that but continued with his undertaking of ensuring that we were living in a clean environment. “He never bowed down to our childish behavior” as Berg would have described it (Berg 76). He would go from door to door, pick the dirt placed on the doorsteps and he would go the extra step of picking the spilled dirt from the ground. When I grew up and started noticing the significance of this person in the neighborhood, I came to appreciate every bit of his work. At one point, we heard that he had fallen sick and he could not come around for two days. That was the time most of us realized the value of the work he did. The neighborhood was in such a mess that we were forced to clean the dirt off out yards. From that time, I considered the trash man as my hero and I really regretted what we used to do back then despite the fact that we would be excused for being children. He used to do a job that no other person could have managed for such along time. I never really understood what kept him in that career until one day I talked to him about it and he told me that he just enjoyed it when people were living in a clean environment created by his efforts. This was the greatest heroic deed for me and despite the fact that this would appear like what Berg refers to an inch deep of help, I still credit this trash man as my hero (Berg 78).
Berg, Elizabeth. Strategies for making a point, My heroes. New York, NY: Random House, 2004. Print