I have a new hero. She lives fairly nearby in Chico, CA. Elsie McLean made a hole-in-one on a regulation golf course--Bidwell Park. So, you might say why would that make her a hero? She happens to be 102.
I'm not a golfer. The one time I signed up for lessons there weren't enough of us in the class so I got a call that morning saying it was cancelled. I did take tennis lessons 3x and still don't like the game--playing that is. I have been known to watch Wimbledon matches at the edge of my seat.
Why are heroes important? Ages ago, it was common to have them. They weren't one more super-hero in a new spin on the same movie; these were actual people who did something special. John Glenn when he went to space the second time around, or the first time the astronauts touched the face of the moon, or even more recently when I met the scientist Steve Squires in charge of Spirit and Opportunity--the Mars Rovers, or way back, Mrs. Kennedy who taught me high school English, or my grandfather who planted his garden by the phases of the moon and made me feel very special.
I asked my children who are their heroes? Oh no, she's asking "one of those" questions again are the look I receive in return. For me, it's in the doing, going well beyond what's called for, and what one is being paid for. It's the getting out of bed, dusting off the problems, and performing no matter what, and giving 110% to whatever the task at hand is--golf, science, or teaching.
Science and engineering are no longer subjects to be studied in U.S. schools--and that's said to be based on the concern of youth about their eventual employability. Maybe. Instead, however, it might be because students no longer have heroes that they look up to that make them reach, stretch, and want to mimic, and accomplish something real. Maybe it's time we brought that hero concept back.