What it takes to be an everyday superhero

Children with computer

Today’s kids — tomorrow’s superheroes? Who knows? Image courtesy of stockimages at freedigitalphotos.net.

Being an everyday superhero doesn’t always take physical strength, like Superman or the Hulk. More often, it’s a case of what’s inside you mentally: a firm, unwavering sense of what’s right and what’s wrong and acting on those beliefs to make one person or many feel better about their own lives.

Once upon a time in Holland, there was a young girl called Hannah. Hannah had a good childhood friend, Annaliese. The two girls were neighbors from age 4 to age 13.

During World War II, the two girls witnessed the gradual changes in their country: people disappearing, food rationing, restrictive laws. Annaliese and her family vanished from their home and were in Switzerland. Hannah stayed busy taking care of her little sister Gabi (her mother had died in childbirth) and the rest of her family.

Then the knock came on their door. Hannah and her family were taken to a concentration camp. Hannah and Gabi were separated from the older members of her family and transferred to another camp. Hannah heard from someone else that Annaliese and other Dutch people were nearby but separated from her by a fence; Annaliese was not in Switzerland as all their neighbors had assumed. Risking exposure and a bullet, Hannah slipped out at night, met with Annaliese, and threw some socks and food to her. Hannah had to do this twice because another person hit Annaliese the first time and ran off with the supplies.

I admire Hannah for her bravery in giving comfort to her childhood friend, at the risk to her own life. Annaliese, who the world would come to know as the diarist Anne Frank, did not survive, but Hannah went on to have a good life as a mother and grandmother. To learn more about Hannah, read the book Memoirs of Anne Frank: Reflections of a Childhood Friend by Alison Leske Gold.

The world is full of everyday superheroes like this — Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, German student Sophie Scholl, Canadian train dispatcher Vince Coleman and firefighters come to mind — but they don’t always get enough attention. I have two particular people who are my superheroes. Both saw a need and did something about it.

B. and K. helped me when I needed it most in the past 3 years. B. has an organization that helps hundreds of job hunters and I teach newbies how to use LinkedIn there. K. is the host of one of my tweetchats and has not only helped me but others, too.

I owe both of them and hope I can repay the favor one day. Or if I can’t pay them back, at least pay it forward to other people.

Video credit: xkkann on YouTube. Music: “Superhero” by Canadian singer Tim McMorris, who I’ve discovered with great delight. Tim has fantastic music; he’s worth a look on YouTube.




Filed under Writing

15 responses to “What it takes to be an everyday superhero

  1. Perhaps I’m just in a teary mood this morning, but this post brought me to tears. Your graciousness acknowledgement of your helpful friends is inspiring. I have long thought that we never say “Thank you” enough….Thank you for a lovely post!

    • The Anne Frank book and the music by Tim McMorris started it. They got me thinking about how the ordinary, non-famous people deserve recognition for the things they do — whether it’s moving forward against many of life’s odds, extending a helping hand or in Hannah’s case, helping a friend even though she risked her own life.

      Tim’s music seemed like the perfect accompaniment.

  2. I have, myself, recently discovered a whole bunch of superheroes among my friends. I never would have guessed it.

  3. It often takes disaster to show the real heroes among our friends. This post made me cry too. Thank you for sharing.

  4. TBM

    It is amazing when you hear stories like this. Some really have strength, compassion, and heart no matter what.

  5. Unfortunately the anti-heroes get better press. Nice job of giving your friends some space.

  6. I firmly believe that if the media would focus more on the good actions of everyday people, the benefits to society would be enormous. These are the people who make good role models for children.


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