Hero or idol? | Inquirer News

Hero or idol?

/ 01:06 PM October 13, 2013

While mulling over what to write for this column, my television was blaring with shouts from the “teleserye” characters of “Juan de la Cruz” a.k.a. “Tagabantay (guardian)” of the people vs. the vampires.

Fantasy heroes like “Juan” continue to attract people, never mind if sometimes the “powers” becomes unbelievable. Not only kids watch this TV show with awe over “Juan’s” super powers. It is natural. People would always look up to people they want to imitate. Idols or heroes?

I had a cousin who lived with us while we were still in Manila. I was in elementary school then and every night I would see her poring over medical books in preparation for the medical board exam. She did become a doctor. That was the germ of my ambition to be a doctor. I didn’t pursue it though because of financial constraints. But until now, I look up to doctors.


I had this great admiration for pilots. With their white uniforms and gentlemanly posture, they are just my heroes. I even fantasized that I would end up marrying one.


I searched in Google for the difference between idol and hero. Oneoldsage.com says they’re different. It cited the Sept. 11 bombing of the World Trade Center. The horrible event showed the world what true heroes look like. They were those who responded first, never mind if they were not trained medical staff or military people. They just ran to help. There were numerous stories of these heroes saving someone else other than themselves.

Let’s not look far. Typhoons Ondoy and Sendong flushed out our heroes, too. I’m sure these people didn’t expect that they would end up helping out and be heroes, but they ended up being just that.

On the other hand, people who become famous because of their looks and media exposure are idols—the suave actor, the towering basketball player, the singing champion, the multi-awarded sportsman, etc. They built their career and that’s a combination of luck and hard work. But they are idols to people not heroes. It’s also the reason why the singing competition “American Idol” is not “American Hero.”

Maybe if these public idols put themselves in service for others and go the extra mile to help make a difference in other people’s lives sans publicity and their media fame, then maybe, just maybe, they can be called heroes. But it will take consistency and dedication. The real hero may even throw away his “idol” stature for this.

So now I correct my previous statements. “Juan de la Cruz” is just a TV idol not a hero. Pilots are my idols not heroes. My cousin doctor is my idol but she’s become a hero to several communities who have benefited from her selfless medical service.

Peter Georgescu, Chairman Emeritus of Young & Rubicam and author of the ‘The Constant Choice’ wrote: “Idols can inspire you to do something exceptional or creative, yet a hero can teach what it means to choose the good through self-sacrifice. The best heroes inspire you to make thousands of daily choices. As wonderful and impressive as individual acts of heroism are — teachers and staff who gave their lives to save students in the Sandy Hook shooting for example — what really counts is how a hero’s example of selflessness becomes an enduring model for a way of life, to many other people. Selflessness, putting one’s own welfare second in an effort to improve the lives of others — this is the common thread in all examples of true heroism.”


So who is your hero? Who is an influential figure in your life? And who do you most want to be like?

For me I have started a spiritual renewal to a point that what matters now is to look up to One Great Hero of love and peace. Everyday I pray for God’s grace to make me the person He wants me to be, who can imitate His ways with love and holiness and so please Him more than other people.

I try to remember always Romans 12:2 that reminds me not to be swept away by worldly idols and their ways: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

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So the next time you hear someone or even yourself say, “He’s my hero” or “She’s my idol” please remember to look up more to the real One who should be our best model and pray: “Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and deepen his life within me that I may be like him in word and in deed. Increase my eagerness to do your will and help me to grow in the knowledge of your love and truth.”

TAGS: column, opinion

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