My senior year in college, I was up for homecoming scholar. At my university, we didn’t have King & Queen, but Homecoming Scholar. You had to have a high GPA, be well spoken, involved in the university and the community, and lots of extra curricular stuff on your resume. When I was interviewed, they asked who my heroes were. I replied, “I know everyone else has said their parents.” The interviewers all chuckled because it was true.

All the other applicants had given a nod to their parents…I didn’t, I mentioned MLK, Gandhi, and President Carter. I think that just this difference probably got me through the first interview. It has taken me some time, not growing up with a silver spoon in hand or mouth, to see how wonderful both my parents really are and were. Mostly we see our parents when they go through things and emerge on the other side victorious or defeated. It is in how they deal with both that their character provides the greatest counsel. If you are in college, paying tuition, getting good marks, and have enough time to do extra-curricular activities your parents probably did do something right, and they probably are heroes in your eyes.

Although I didn’t mention him then, I would put my dad up against anyone in a battle of guts. Add to that the wisdom that comes from failing and succeeding, and you have a hero.

Last night I had the good fortune of talking to that hero, a man who has faced many adversities, and who hasn’t had it easy; a man who made himself. His simple advice was for me a buoy of comfort in a somewhat turbulent sea of discord, frustration, and malaise. He presented to me a reminder, a reminder to all of us, that it is not in the succeeding but in the trying that we are made great, and it is a braver man who knows when he is finished with any endeavor, and able to quit it, despite the consequences.

“I’m pretty tired.

Think i’ll go home now.”