Hero: A lesson from a volunteer firefighter
Are you willing to make the ultimate sacrifice? Would you put your life on the line for someone you've never met or don't even like? Most firefighters will answer a resounding, "YES!" But what about you? Are you a hero? Could you be a hero? What makes an ordinary person extraordinary? In this lesson we will explore what it really means to be a hero.
It is not always about the "big save", often time it is the little things we do for others that make the difference. Three traits heroes have in common are courage, commitment and compassion. Review the stories below and see if you can identify the "little things" these people do that make them heroes. Look for examples of courage, commitment and compassion.
After reading the poem "He Sits Down on the Floor of the School for the Retarded", consider the following questions: Was the author wrong to lie? Why or why not? Why was the author uncomfortable? Can you recall a similar situation when you felt uncomfortable? What did you do? How do the author's conclusions relate to being a hero? Is compassion an instinctive quality or one that can be developed and honed?
Read the short story "The Use of Force" How far would you go to help a stranger, especially one not too agreeable to being helped? How did the Doctor demonstrate courage, commitment and compassion?
Samantha Power tells a story of a complicated hero, Sergio Vieira de Mello. This UN diplomat walked a thin moral line, negotiating with the world's worst dictators to help their people survive crisis. It's a compelling story told with a fiery passion. How did Vieria de Mello demonstrate courage, commitment and compassion?
They've been called the "Saints of Somalia." Doctor Hawa Abdi and her daughter Deqo Mohamed discuss their medical clinic in Somalia, where -- in the face of civil war and open oppression of women -- they've built a hospital, a school and a community of peace. Hear their story. Why did they need courage, commitment and compassion?
What trials unite not only Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins but many of literature's most interesting heroes? And what do ordinary people have in common with these literary heroes? Matthew Winkler takes us step-by-step through the crucial events that make or break a hero. See it here. Can you identify examples of courage, commitment and compassion in these heroes?
How can an anti-hero teach us about the heroic--and sometimes, the unheroic--characteristics that shape a story’s protagonist? From jealousy to self-doubt, Tim Adams challenges us to consider how anti-heroes reflect the very mortal weaknesses that can be found within all of us. See it here.
Compare Mark's story from the video to the short poem "A Bed for the Night" by Bertolt Brecht. What message do they have in common? Are there examples of courage, commitment and compassion in the poem? Is the man on the corner a hero- even if he doesn't change the world?
A Bed for the Night
I hear that in New York
At the corner of 26th street and Broadway
A man stands every evening during the winter months
And gets beds for the homeless there
By appealing to passers-by.
It wont change the world
It wont improve relations among men
It will not shorten the age of exploration
But a few men have a bed for the night
For a night the wind is kept from them
The snow meant for them falls on the roadway.
Don't put down the book on reading this, man.
A few people have a bed for the night
For the night the wind is kept from them
The snow that is meant for them falls on the roadway
But it won't change the world
It wont improve relations among men
It will not shorten the age of exploration.
What is a hero? Find a quote that best reflects the idea of a hero and tell us why you like it. A list of quote to help you get started can be found here.
Look through today's news and see if you can spot a hero. Take a moment to thank a hero. Find your own courage, commitment and compassion, and be a hero.
"One person can make a difference, and everyone should try." -John F Kennedy