Become a Hero, a Legend or a Better You
by Ronda Brodsky, MS
“Heroes get remembered but legends never die.” ~ the legendary Babe Ruth
As I was participating in the Borderless Aquatic Fitness Conference (BAFC) 2020, this quote is what came to my mind. I was listening to heroes and possibly even legends. A true hero is more than a role model. Often times, the individual does not see him or herself as a hero, rather just doing what he or she believes is right and what should be done.
We, as humans, are not perfect but we should all strive for perfection. How do you want to live your life? How do you want to be remembered? The most important lesson I have learned is The Golden Rule. First and foremost, treat others as you want to be treated. This means think before you react; chances are great you will make a better decision.
This kind of thinking led me to become a teacher. As most of us know, teachers teach for the outcome and not the income. What can I do to help my students attain their goals and do their best in everything? My goal is to lead by example (as a teacher, all eyes are on you). How do others see you? Are you showing the best you?
Here are some ways to become a real-life hero:
- Have a positive outlook on life. The glass is half full not half empty.
- Look out for others before yourself. See the happiness on others faces.
- Volunteer your time and talent to help others.
- Promote the good and see the good in everyone.
- Practice selflessness (learn from your heroes).
- Show bravery and courage. Be ready to do something while others sit back and watch.
- Do what you think is right. More importantly, do it for what it is and not for the glory. Your actions may go unnoticed, but you do them for the intrinsic value and not for a reward
A true hero can use small gestures or do the little things to make a difference for others. It can be as simple as opening a door for someone. It could also be visiting a friend or taking a friend out for a meal. You could also offer to help others with laundry or cleaning tasks; this may not seem like a lot to you but, to many, it may be lifesaving. Hugs are great (but make sure we are in the clear from the pandemic). Thank you notes that are personally written by hand and mailed go a long way. Tell someone that you appreciate them. Another great way is to send an unexpected email to a family member or friend just saying hi or telling them that you love him or her. Little things can make the biggest difference.
Having a positive outlook in life will have more people noticing you and what you do. Think of the good things and how you can make them better. If you are given lemons, make lemonade and enjoy it. Try to turn any negative to a positive. This helps you and everyone around you see what can be done – rather than what cannot be done.
Follow a good example and let that be a shining example of what to do in life. Be inspired and find a way that you can exemplify your good qualities and behaviors. Find the strengths you like in others and see how you can use these traits to your advantage. Heroes inspire us both emotionally and mentally. They can even inspire us in some physical ways. As a physical education and health teacher, many of my students see me as a hero. I believe that one of the greatest compliments is when others say they want to be like you. My proudest hero moment was presenting on Risk Management at IAFC 1997 and in walked Adolf Kiefer (of blessed memory). I've always looked up to him. I was in complete awe and disbelief that he came to my lecture.
Volunteer your time and your talent. I know it makes me feel good when I put in my volunteer hours. I work with students of all abilities both in the classroom and in the pool – wherever they may want or need my help. This goes along with helping others before yourself. You must take time to take care of yourself but even the littlest gesture could mean the world to someone. When I offer my swim lessons, I hope to get paid but if money is an issue then the lessons will still be taught. I am also a true believer in karma and what you do could help you in the long run, but that is not my motivating factor. I was brought up to do what is right even if what you need or want has to take a back seat.
I challenge you to be a hero, a legend or a better you. Now, challenge yourself! And challenge others!
Ronda Brodsky is a Physical Education and Health Teacher at a charter school in Detroit, Michigan, with a master’s degree in Physical Education. Ronda is an American Red Cross CPR, first aid, lifeguarding and water safety instructor. She has over 30 years in the aquatic industry as an AEA certified professional and a past presenter at IAFC. Ronda is a frequent contributor to Akwa magazine, AEA’s member publication, and the author of Aquatastic: Swimming Made Simple. Ronda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org