I recently had another conversation about the meaning of heroism, during which I was again confronted with the common belief that to be a hero one must do something “extraordinary.”
Yes, once again it boiled down to the “only emergencies and wars make heroes” perception.
In light of this, I thought it was time to expand on an earlier post about more “mundane” heroic efforts. These efforts are the hallmark of the classical hero concept: someone who can indeed do extraordinary things, but also serves the purpose of uplifting society through even the most seemingly mundane actions.
Some of the most rewarding feelings we can experience come from seeing proof we’ve made a real, positive difference to someone, or a group of people. If you don’t have a job or vocation that allows you to do this, you may have spent some time wondering what it’s like.
If you want to stop wondering and start feeling, here are a few other ways to be a hero to your community.
Here in the real world, most heroes aren’t showered with praise. This is especially true for the street-sweepers who toil their days away just to make sure our communities don’t become overrun with litter.
It’s pretty easy to point out trash and complain that the local government isn’t doing enough about it, but it takes real selflessness to get out there and do something about it.
Take it upon yourself to clean up at least a small area of public space once in a while. Or better yet, multiply your power and start a grassroots campaign to gather people together for the effort.
Join/Create a Neighborhood Watch Group
Joining or creating a neighborhood watch group is gaining in popularity. Again, instead of complaining that someone (in this case, the police) should be doing a better job, get off the couch and start pitching in.
If your town already has a neighborhood watch group, get involved at the meetings, talk about issues in your community. Tap into the dying art of talking to your neighbors in order to (GASP!) become friends.
Cooperation got us to the top of the food chain. Let’s all make an effort to stop the slow decline of that evolutionary advantage!
Remember I’m not talking about becoming some sort of vigilante. Any neighborhood watch effort should be done in coordination with the local police. Depending on guidelines set by local authorities, civilians are asked to get into the habit of keeping an eye out for suspicious activity as they go about their daily lives.
Usually, police don’t want roving bands of citizens walking the streets at night on the lookout for crime. If you live in one of those rare places that allow for people to patrol the neighborhood (including, in some places, fitting your car with emergency vehicle lights), then more power to you.
But usually, when it comes to town watch, remember that discretion is often the better part of valor. Translation: if you see something that seems suspicious, don’t rush to confront the “perp”! Call the police!
Help the Less Fortunate
In every community, even in the developed world, there are families and individuals who are constantly struggling just to keep a roof over their head and food in their bellies. Fortunately, there are various ways you can help this issue, by sacrificing a small portion of your time.
Whether you’re donating old school supplies to a local classroom, dropping tins in a food bank, cooking a few meals for a disabled neighbor, or spending your nights at a soup kitchen, there’s all manner of options for giving back. No matter what it may feel like, there’s definitely someone in your community who’s got it worse than you, and there’s definitely some way for you to help them.
Whether you go with one of these suggestions or do something completely different, you have the potential to be a hero to your community! It’s all about service to others!
Featured Image Source: Pixabay