If you have never watched the Disney Channel (even when the children have left the room), let me catch you up.
There is a show (where all the people are a cross between Weeble-Wobbles and those nesting babushka dolls, I don’t know why) called Higglytown Heroes. In this show, the kids encounter various problems (like cats stuck in a tree, a hole in a roof, etc) where they need a grown up to help them. Well, in Higglytown, everyone is a hero, and the helping grownup does a little song and dance about how the kids can “work real hard, and then they’ll be a hero just like me”.
As a refresher, the definition of “hero” is: “a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities.” (thank you dictionary.com, the neutral gender was my addition.)
With that definition, a roofer does not generally fulfill this description as they go about their normal job. Or a grocery store clerk, or a doctor, or a postal worker…you get the idea.
What bugs me is the degradation of the idea of a hero. A hero is generally not someone who is doing the job they are paid to do, unless their chosen job puts them into a situation the requires significant personal sacrifice (police, firefighters, Mother Theresa, teachers working in dangerous conditions, et cetra). To be a hero, you generally have to do MORE then what is asked of you. Like the HEROS on United 93, or the person who jumps into a pool to save a drowning person (including if they are the lifeguard).
So, every time I hear the Higgly’s sing their little song, it makes me irritated. You don’t make everyone a hero to describe the importance of the work they do. Sometimes a person’s work just makes them a good citizen.
Being a good citizen and taking pride in your work is a very fine thing to aspire to, and that is a good message for our children. But let’s reserve the word hero for those who truly deserve the distinction.