A hero of a parent

For years whenever Heroes Day is celebrated, I hear people celebrate their mothers, mainly for giving birth to them. Not one to be easily hoodwinked, I look beyond; there must be something a parent has done to warrant them being called a hero besides the act of giving birth.

Last Friday we remembered and celebrated the lives that were lost for the peace and freedom of our beautiful country. Blood was shed, families were shattered all so you and I could have what we call home today. As the national celebrations were going on, I was having a chat with my friends on who their hero was, and parents featured a lot.

I remember a man who lost his job when his first born child was in P5; he was a father of five children. At the time, his wife had just joined a small company and was working as the front office assistant. The family had to leave the company house in a posh area straight into a slum because that is what he could afford. Life was hard, there were days he had to get up early so he could prepare tomato and onion sauce because he could not send his children to school without eating something.

When he lost his job he had no other skill and the only immediate available opportunity for him was working in construction sites. He started off with pushing wheelbarrows, passing on construction material as he learnt the other tougher tasks along the way. This was a determined man heading a cheerful family. If ever you found them you would not automatically tell what struggles they had. He and his wife were friendly to their children; theirs was the happiest family in the neighbourhood with no material wealth to talk about. This cycle went on for about three years before he could raise some money to go back to the village to set up a small workshop. Not even once did his children sleep hungry or walk naked. He never beat them or their mother out of frustration. He never stopped smiling no matter what life brought his way. He vowed to do anything to ensure his family stayed together and was catered for. His wife continued to see a supportive, hardworking husband and father. She too was credited for not abandoning him in spite of naysayers.

Being one’s mother or father is awesome but not enough to be called a hero, how you raise your children, however, could earn you that title. The same goes for all the other positions you hold in life.

Heroes are all around us though there are times we do not see them. Opportunities to become a person’s hero are also all over, it is just that we at times are too selfish to notice. Such days should be used to reflect on our actions. You cannot be considered a hero for doing things that benefit only you as an individual, it has to be small or great things that made lives better, those that leave an indelible mark.

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