Growing up it seemed like at least once a school year every teacher assigned us to write a paper about our hero. It could be anyone that we looked up to. No matter the grade, as soon as the project was assigned the room would become a buzz of excitement and intrigue. Everyone would begin talking about the person they would write about that year.
As you might imagine, in earlier grades students heroes were far more general in description. Doctors, nurses, firemen and ballerinas were the protagonists of the papers. Many times not for any reason other than the fact that a first grader wanted some day be the profession they chose as their hero.
As the years passed the heroes became grossly much more specific. NFL quarterbacks, movie and TV stars, CEOs, and fashion models begin to become the topics of the assignment. They weren’t referred to now by profession as much as they were by name. For example, their heroes weren’t so much NFL quarterbacks in general as much as they were Roger Staubach or Terry Bradshaw specifically.
It wasn’t long after that my classmates became interested in music. All of a sudden everyone’s hero was the front man for their favorite band. I remember as a 7th grader when the teacher went through the papers 90% of the kids said their hero was either Eddie Van Halen (guitarist for Van Halen) or Valerie Bertinelli (the woman married to Eddie Van Halen). It was obviously a big year for Van Halen.
I always received this assignment little differently. For me, this was the easiest assignment of the year. I knew who my hero was and I knew exactly what I admired about him. There was never much to think about, for in my life although I have had many people I’ve looked up to, I’ve only had one hero–my dad.
From the first grade all the way through junior high I would simply put together a new paper on Stephen J. Hall. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when he wasn’t the man I wanted to be. I have always known that my life would be a success if it simply resembled his.
As I wait now for this little boy to come in my life, I can only hope that he feels in some way the same way I feel about my father. I don’t need to be his only hero. There are plenty of good examples out there for him to want to model his life after. I do however hope that he looks at the life I have lived with integrity and pride.
It’s interesting, as his birth gets closer and closer I find that I don’t much care if he looks at me and sees a man of wealth, or a life filled with distinctions and honors. But, I do hope that he sees me as richly blessed. I hope he looks at my life and sees one lived with distinction and filled with honor.
I hope that I can live my life in such a way that Cole will look to me as a good man; a righteous man. I hope that he will see in me a man who is kind and thinks of others. I hope that he will want to treat the young women he associates with properly because of the way he’s seen me treat his mother. I hope that he’ll want to work hard because he’s seen me put 100% into anything I try to do.
More than anything I hope that I can set the example for my son that my father set for me.