Every year I venture into the topic of heroes and idols with my maturita students, and I am taken aback by the responses I get when I pose the question of who their heroes are.


Many respond with something like Bieber, Beyoncé or Borat. Others spout out with perfect examples that they have been trained to say, such as, Ghandí, Mandela, or mother Theresa. Though these last three hold some weight, I don't see them truly influencing the actions, ambitions and dreams of my students. The most common answer I am given is something like "Uh... I don't know" or "I don't have a hero."


Everyone needs a hero, someone to look up to. To learn from, and to model themselves after. I'm shocked to find that my students are lacking in the hero department, because my role model was so important in making me into the man I am today. My hero has been and always will be my father, or "Pops" as I used to call him. My Dad taught me more about life, the world, and what it means to be a good man, than anyone else on this earth. He taught me to ask intelligent questions, and to put others before myself. My father showed me what it means to be a loving husband, a great dad, and the world's greatest grandfather. He always claimed that he "didn't know everything, but that he knew a little about a lot." He always seemed to have the right answer when I needed it.


My dad is gone now. The cancer finally won. He passed on this past May. But I assure you that my "Pops" lives on. Every lesson he taught me, through words and his selfless actions will live on in me. You see, when you have this kind of hero, the gifts that they bless you with stick with you. The wisdom that they gave you will continue to mold you, influence the decisions you make, and the way you live your lives forever. The knowledge I gained from my father is priceless. The best part is that no one can ever take it from me.


So I say to you, choose your heroes and role models with care. Put some thought into it. Choose someone that will stand behind you, and support you in your dreams and ambitions. Choose someone that will live on inside you. Even, when they are no longer with us. I want to leave you with some advice from my father in saying: "Don't sweat the small stuff."


by Matt Haarman

Year 1, Issue 3