Who Are the Heroes?

July 01, 2005 | Education | Dennis Plubell

There are stories of heroes in all cultures across all ages. Yet many today lament the lack of heroes. Could it be that too many people are looking for heroes in the wrong places? Athletes, actors, musicians and models aren't heroes — they're celebrities. But I believe heroes abound in your world and mine, a fact that doesn't often make the news.

Who are the heroes? The answer is not found in a distant time or place, or even in the media. True heroes are as close as the people who live next door. As global events at the beginning of this century have reminded us, the ordinary among us doing extraordinary things that inspire others are the heroes of today. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (Houghton Mifflin 2000) includes in its definition of hero “a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose.”

Who are the heroes? I propose that the Adventist teacher next door would certainly qualify. Daily, teachers across the country implement lessons designed to impart knowledge. But the Adventist teacher seeks to provide so much more. As Ellen White points out, “The world does not so much need men of great intellect as of noble character” (Education 225). Achieving such a noble purpose requires teachers who know the One who is truth and who will introduce Him to your children and mine. It requires Christian teachers of uncommon courage and wisdom.

Visit any Adventist classroom and watch the amazing journey to excellence that is in progress — teachers with high expectations for student learning but higher hopes for the salvation of God’s youth. See the consistent personal interaction that transforms lives, a job so difficult that, except for its common occurrence, would inspire us more.

Who are the heroes? Each year teachers spend many dollars of their own earned income for classroom supplies, necessities for student learning. It has been calculated that the average teacher works more hours in nine months than the average hourly employee does in an entire year. But the task is not about input. It’s about eternal outcomes.

An anonymous quote I read recently goes something like this: "We have been so anxious to give our children what we didn't have that we have neglected to give them what we did have." What is it that our kids really need? English, math, science and lessons in healthful living are important, but our children need more. Our students need love, encouragement, someone to talk to, someone to listen, standards to live by. Our students need what Adventist Christians have to share, an introduction to the Savior and the nurturing of a growing relationship with Him. Redemption is the object of true education and the great object of life (Education 16).

Adventist teachers endeavor to meet the wide array of student needs with unwavering courage, noble purpose, enduring faith and an assurance that something better is about to transpire because they have Jesus to share.

Who are the heroes? Adventist teachers are the heroes next door.