You can’t watch or read the news without hearing that Prince William and Kate Middleton plan to wed mid-2011. I’m sure all of us in the former colonies wish the future king and his future bride a happy, successful marriage.
I’ve never been a girl, so I’m throwing this out there based on what I’ve heard said about girls: Most girls dream of finding and marrying Prince Charming from the time they reach 3 years old. Based on everything I’ve heard about Prince William, he very well could be that dream man, a real-life Prince Charming. He’s the man that women want and men want to be.
Sadly, except for a handful of monarchies or constitutional monarchies such as the United Kingdom, the only way to gain the title of Prince is by birth. You can’t run for Prince. Or I guess you could be like that talented musician whose parents had the forethought to lend him the royal moniker of Prince…which he then wasted and is now known in mocking terms as The Artist Formerly Known As Prince (TAFKAP, for short).
Truth be told, I’m not a fan of celebrity. Because it’s not earned. Prince William had accidental, fortunate lineage that “earned” him the title of Prince. He was born into it; he didn’t earn it. Paris Hilton had the great fortune to be born…to great fortune. She was born into it; she didn’t earn it.
For my own daughter, I hope she doesn’t find a Prince Charming, someone reared in charm schools, born of fame, and who captures attention wherever he goes. I’d rather that she find a hero, a simple man of character.
I’ve met a few people that I consider heroes. None of them has made the headlines to my knowledge. They come from diverse walks of life, and they act rightly when it matters most.
The man in Greenville, South Carolina who found my wallet, called me, and returned it with everything still inside. He refused to take any money as a reward. “You would have done the same for me or anyone else,” he said as he walked away. He was a man of character. He was my hero.
To the Naperville, Illinois firefighter who hugged me while tears welled up in his eyes because I was a St. Baldrick’s volunteer. His daughter, he told me, had died of a rare form of cancer, and he thanked me for be willing to share vicariously in his story and for helping raise funds to find a cure. I shaved my head; this man endured the greatest loss a parent can experience. His story and his gratitude made him my hero.
The Kukkonen family of Lake Linden, Michigan who tramped through the woods during a raging blizzard to help me look for my lost little dog. They were my heroes.
The Chicago, Illinois taxi driver who took me home while knowing that I had, again, misplaced my wallet. He dropped me off with only my promise to send him a check in the mail. His trust in me, a stranger, made him my hero.
To the unidentified person in China who built, inspected and shipped my last microwave oven. Having purchased 2 other ovens in the past day to get them home to find that they were broken, I was thrilled that someone took his or her job seriously and did it well. That unknown factory worker on the other side of the world was my hero.
You don’t have to be born a Prince to make a difference. The media doesn’t have to label your actions heroic. You don’t need to survive being trapped underground in a cave. You don’t need to go to the moon and back. You don’t have to rush into burning buildings. You can be a hero to others by practicing charity and kindness, by doing a non-glamorous job well, by providing encouragement and support to others.
I guess I wouldn’t mind had I been born a Prince. But royal birth in no way assures moral fiber. So rather than wishing for celebrity, I hope to live a life of character and to be a silent hero to others in some small way.
How about you?