My childhood superhero is Hercules (Heracles, if you follow the original Greek name), and I am not ashamed to admit that I am still pretty much a big fanboy of this fantastic Greek superhero.
My admiration for this Greek god came after watching the 1997 Walt Disney animated movie “Hercules”, and I thought the film did well to cast Hercules in the appropriate light as a hero of strength.
Heracles (Hercules): Greek God of Strength
So the story (in the movie) goes that Hercules was born the son of the Greek gods Zeus and Hera. However, because of the evil intervention by Hades, Hercules was transformed into a half-god, half-mortal. As a result, Hercules was sent to Earth and raised there since young. By a stroke of luck, Hercules retained his god-like strength, through which he discovered his immortal heritage. When he prayed to Zeus one night, Zeus told him that the only way he could return to Mount Olympus is to become a True Hero. With the help of his friends Phil and Pegasus the winged horse, Hercules trained and became a famous hero, battling monsters and saving the people, but that was not enough. In the end, it was his act of saving the mortal girl Meg from the depths of the underworld that eventually earned him his status as a True Hero, and returned him his immortality.
(the strange thing, is that after I read more about the myths of Heracles, I discover that this story has little to no relation to them. Yes, he had godlike strength, and there was a mortal girl called Megara whom he married, but most of the storyline was completely different. See this link for more details)
“But to look beyond the glory is the hardest part, for a hero’s strength is measured by his heart.” – Michael Bolton, singing “Go the Distance”
The reason why I loved this story a lot, is because it showed me that heroes are not valued for their strengths, but what they use their strengths for. In another analogy, it is not the sharpness of the sword that wins the respect for the swordsman on the battlefield, but the enemies that he has slain that has won him the honour. Likewise, each of us have our individual strengths in life, but the question is, are we wielding these strengths in the most admirable, most deserving manner befitting of who we are? Will we take the strength to save our loved ones, or leave with havoc and destruction in our wake?
During my days in school, I have met a great deal of highly intelligent people, with minds as sharp as a needle and as brilliant as the sunrise. I have no doubt that such talented individuals will go a long way in life – much further than I could ever ask for – but it pains me every time I see such brilliance go to waste due to laziness, apathy, and mediocrity. The little things that chip and scrape at a polished diamond and ruin its usefulness. Intelligence is something that not everyone has been blessed with, but many of us are taking our minds for granted, and not going the distance with them. That is a real shame in my humble opinion.
I am sure that the legend of Hercules will remain close to my heart for the rest of my life, and will be my guide to making decisions for doing what is right. I have been blessed with certain assets and traits, and I will ensure that they will be put to good use for the benefit of those around me.
The “Superhero” in all of us
What I am trying to say, is that all of us need a superhero in our lives. Superheroes embody traits that we all desire and wished we had (typical example would be Superman and how he saves the world from evil), and it is through them we discover more about ourselves and what we stand for in life. Although superheroes do not exist, they live inside our hearts like the guiding light in the open sea, bringing us home and to our destinies.
So, who is the superhero living in you?