LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. — I was recently picking up a few items at a local retail chain at lunchtime and everywhere I walked, someone wanted to shake my hand or say, “Thank you for your service.” It made me proud to be wearing the uniform of the U.S. Air Force.
While waiting in the checkout line, I noticed a little boy who was shopping with his mom, staring at me from his perch in the cart. I smiled and said hello, but he just kept staring.
His mom apologized and explained he was crazy about people in uniform and his hero was Captain America. She said he watches the movie repeatedly and puts on a little uniform to defend the house.
I totally understand why a mother would want her child to have a hero as a role model. As I continued to listen to the young woman explain her sons actions, I began to realize that we really do need to act like superheroes.
Okay, stick with me here. I am not saying that we should put on a cape and mask and climb to the top of the roof to see what dastardly deeds needed thwarting. Your spouse would most likely tell you to “get down before you hurt yourself” and “take off that getup before the neighbors see you and have you committed!”
The message I am trying to get across is the we are worthy of our kids’ admiration — kind of like a superhero. Here are a few things about superheroes we need to know:
1. Superheroes never believe their own write-up. They are humble, except when fighting a bad guy and neither flashy nor boastful. They save the day and retreat to their secret lair or flightline, in our case.
2. Superheroes help people. Whether it is a neighbor needing help painting a fence, or the woman in the grocery store that can’t quite reach that box of cereal, we need to lend a hand.
3. Superheroes are respectful towards the public. They use manners, such as “yes sir,” or “yes ma’am” and open doors for elderly or handicapped people at restaurants.
4. Superheroes exist in lives kids can look up to. They do not lie, cheat or misuse government credit cards. They set examples for others to follow and they do the right thing even when no one is looking — sounds like “integrity” to me.
5. Superheroes are always there. They always support their friends’ no matter what else is going on, even in the dark of night — sounds like “service before self” to me.
6. Superheroes always do their best. You’ll never see a superhero slacking, or saving only enough people to make it look good. They give it their all every time and people take notice — sounds like “excellence in all we do” to me.
7. Superheroes are in shape. Have you ever seen a chubby superhero? The bad people would kick his butt! The public would not have much confidence in an out-of-shape superhero, would they?
If you have ever watched the movie “Hancock,” you would have seen the likes of a lost soul, or superhero, in this case. The protagonist, at first, is all about himself — he is a drunk with a bad attitude, thinking he is above the law. The public has no faith in him and he quickly loses faith in himself. With the help of people who care about him, he becomes the superhero that, deep down, he knew he was capable of becoming.
Maybe you know someone who, with a little help and direction, can live up to their potential — sounds like “leadership” to me. Sometimes he or she is the person in the mirror. Realizing it, facing it, accepting it and working on it, are often the most heroic actions of all.
The point is when you are off base and in uniform, you are easily recognized as a member of the U.S. Air Force; kids look at your uniform and are in awe; parents look at you and hope that their son or daughter will follow in your footsteps; and seniors thank you and appreciate that you are continuing to carry the torch to keep our country safe.
We should all act as though we are in uniform, even when we are not and display the same hero-like qualities we are capable of. Let us all act like superheroes and truly earn the respect and admiration we are given every day. Think about it.