We Can Be Heroes


I saw some people on the TV being awarded for their bravery and courage a few days ago. They were ordinary people but they were being hailed as heroes.

Hearing their stories I started thinking about what makes someone a hero. What does someone have to do to be recognised as courageous or brave? Who are the sorts of people who get awarded for their actions of bravery?

In so many cases, those being awarded simply needed to be in the right place at the right time when certain circumstances were happening around them.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not downplaying what they’ve done or their amazing actions when the time came. I’m not saying that those people were passive and that they’ve done nothing to deserve an award. No, not at all. What I am saying is that there are times in life when circumstances offer you the opportunity to step up and do something that will have an extraordinary outcome for others. Those people don’t get labelled as heroes for being in the right place at the right time but for stepping up and taking appropriate action when the opportunity arises.

There are times in life where we are offered the opportunity to act, despite the risks, or to turn away. Bravery and courage are about seeing the risks and yet stepping in to do what must be done.

So who is the hero?

The hero is the woman who scales a rocky embankment to save a child’s life by pulling them from the water. It’s the doctor who uses the skills they learned in the sterile environment of a surgery as they perform a remarkable and risky medical procedure on the side of the road to keep a driver alive after a head on collision. The hero is the guy who pulls someone from the wreck of a car and pounds on their chest until paramedics arrive or the child who stays calm and in control while ringing the emergency number when one of their parents is lying, barely breathing, on their kitchen floor.

These heroes are people who, when the opportunity presents itself, just do what needs to be done without stopping to calculate the risk they’re facing. So many times I’ve heard people who have selflessly saved the lives of others look puzzled when someone calls them a hero and says something like, “I reckon I just did what anybody would do”. Most often these heroes are ordinary people who put themselves at risk to do something they often see as unremarkable which creates a remarkable outcome.

You’d step up if the opportunity was there wouldn’t you?

I’d like to think that if I ever find myself in the sort of circumstances that call for courage and bravery, I’d jump in. I’d like to imagine that I wouldn’t even consider holding back but rather I would do whatever it took at the time. You’d do that wouldn’t you?

If you have ever put aside your own safety and stepped in to help someone I’d love to hear your story.

You don’t have to wait to become a hero.

If being a hero is about stepping up when the circumstances arise, let me tell you that there are circumstances right now that will allow you to do something remarkable.

There is a child somewhere in this world, at this moment, who is facing an uncertain future because poverty is telling them that they are worthless. They are at risk of serious illness or even death from simple diseases that we can cure, simply because they don’t have access to healthcare. The circumstances exist right now for you to make a remarkable difference in the life of a child. You’d do that wouldn’t you? This is one of those times in life where you are offered the opportunity to act, despite the risks, or to turn away. What will it be?

You might not think that sponsoring a child makes you a hero. You might say like many other heroes have said, “I reckon I just did what anybody would do”.

Please consider becoming a hero for a child by sponsoring them through Compassion.

If you’d prefer a one time act of heroism, then consider donating to support my efforts in next week’s Ride for Compassion. I’ll be cycling over 500 kilometres to bring change for some children and their families in Tanzania. Will you consider donating? Just click this link.

The circumstances are right. Be a hero.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist and blogger from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Rodney,
    How many people are going to think of the Wallflowers when they read the title?

    I’m glad you advertised for Compassion.

    I agree with your definition of hero. I’ve said to the congregation a few times that if you want to be great in the Lord’s eyes (aka a hero), be a godly husband, wife, mother, father, etc. Serve the Lord and the body of Christ. If you’re a young person growing up, stay pure and set a good example for others.

  • Yes, you don’t have to wait to be a hero. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” (Roosevelt) Thank you for the reminder and inspiration to be heroes with what we have now.

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