The Return of Heroes

(Originally written, February 1999)

As we sat in the theater, tears rolled down my checks.  The emotions of both joy and pain were flooding over us.  This week had been a busy one of extremely long days, travel, and numerous meetings.  So, for the first time in several months, my wife and I were ready to get away for a Friday night at the movies.  At Davidene’s recommendation we settled on  “October Sky” which was just opening.  It was like the good movies of old, which not only entertained but also inspired.  It could have easily been called the “Return of Heroes”.

Today’s entertainment usually espouses the values of a degenerate society.  The language, sex, and violence are “rated,” but they lure us in anyway.  The profanity corrupts our minds, the violence desensitizes us, and the sex makes us think “everyone is doing it” or that love can be switched on and off  like a machine.  Believe me, I enjoy a thoughtful mystery, a good cop and robber flick, or a wild action car chase as much as anyone.  But we don’t realize how “bad” things have gotten until we see how “good” they should be.  Television is supposedly a step above the movies, but I think that it’s worse, because it catches us unaware.  In our homes its influence is constant as we let it drone on for hours every night and sometimes even all day.  I no longer have time for the nightly sitcoms, but wait to enjoy the good stuff on the weekend (NASCAR or a good ball game!).  However, even those of us who love sports have lost many of our real heroes.

“October Sky” shares the early life story of a retired NASA scientist, Homer Hickman.  We see the value of a teacher who cares about motivating her students.  We are encouraged by the persistence of a young man in the midst of many failures.  Adversity, strife, anger, injury, love, and sacrifice appear larger than life on the screen.  Dreams of the young, the despair of the old, and the fickleness of the crowd command our attention.  The loving mom, the single-minded dad, and the faithful friend tear at our heartstrings.   But through all of this we see the importance of role models, parents, and heroes.

How long has it been since you told a parent or older mentor that you loved them?  Have you put your arm around your child lately?  Do you allow those around you to “dream” even when it makes no sense?  Have you reached beyond your small world to a larger one of hopes and dreams?  Have you settled for mediocrity or are you pursuing your passion?

We are a generation that is wearing itself out to get things that never add up to enough, a society reaching for fleeting pleasures that give only pain, and a people that desperately want control and power, yet feel totally helpless.  God must really wonder why we reject him and his free gifts of true riches, honor, and a satisfying and everlasting life.

So pull back for a little while from this crazy world.  Make a statement for decency, values, persistence, family and love.  Take someone for whom you care to the movies.  And after you have cried and cheered, thought and grieved, and been inspired through it all, return to your family and give someone a hug.   Encourage a family member or friend, and then sleep soundly knowing that our world can be a better place.  Heroes are in short supply.   You may be the only one some people see.  So get started where you are, you just might change the life of several young boys.  If I strain, I can barely see them coming over the hill, the heroes are returning!  Maybe they have never left; maybe we’ve just been looking in all the wrong places.

Focusing on my heroes and pursuing my dreams,

If you would rather rent a DVD, why not try “Mr. Holland’s Opus?”


About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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