What We Should Do With Heroes


We are to copy heroes, not just crown them.

Image source: Student's Digest
That’s what I believe the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation (RMAF) conveyed during the recent private screening of the “Ripples of Change: Democracy and Governance” documentary for young journalists, online influencers such as bloggers and other advocates whom RMAF called “Greatness of Spirit ambassadors.” (from the press kit of the GOS Ambassadors’ Kapihan Session) The documentary highlighted “the transformative solutions that the Ramon Magsaysay awardees effectively employed to change their communities for the better.” (Ibid) The film screening laid the foundation for the upcoming, yearlong 55th anniversary celebration for the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Asia’s Nobel Peace Prize.

The late Secretary Jesse Robredo of the Department of Interior and Local Government
was among those featured in the documentary.
He received the 2000 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service
when he was mayor of Naga City. Image source: Sun Star 
We award these modern-day heroes not only for what they have done. We award them so that others (read: us) would be inspired to do the very same things they have done or even better. It’s not just for recognition but for repetition, too. It’s a breath of fresh air since we usually hear on the news about errors to avoid. Now, we hear of examples to emulate. (I’ll write about these heroes in my future blogs.)

As I watch the documentary, I realized I was on the verge of cynicism. That I was just hanging on with one finger and was about to lose my faith in humanity. I suppose I was simply tired of those people who would cry out for change and yet later on would counter change. 

But these heroes renewed my faith. They made their mark. And now it’s up to us to make sure it is not erased. More than that, they challenge us to make our own.

It’s no mere pep talk. Highlighting this milestone year, RMAF will launch the Magsaysay Institute of Transformative Leadership (MITL). It “aims to connect [through dialogues, conferences and other leadership immersion programs] the Magsaysay awardees and their solutions to organizations and individuals that seek to solve Asia’s many issues.” (Ibid) This will be an opportunity for flesh-and-blood encounters with these heroes.

Some things are really better caught than taught.

Even the Bible encourages us to imitate our heroes. “Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. There should be a consistency that runs through us all.” (Hebrews 13:7b, The Message) We all have the heroes’ blood running in our veins. We just have to rise up for such a time as this.

My take? Copy heroes, not just crown them.

NOTE: For more information about Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, its awardees, and its activities please email communications@rmaf.org.ph or call 521-3166 loc 180. RMAF is also on Twitter and Facebook.


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