Last night Little sister came along with go pick up a pizza (okay, so yes, it was pizza(s) and yes I ate three slices). Anyway, while we waited, we spotted someone who works at the girls’ school and Little Sister could barely contain her excitement. It was like she had a superstar sighting and I thought it was adorable who much she looked up to this kind of celebrity. Kids, right?!
Except at an event today I ran into a lovely woman who was with her family that looked vaguely familiar. She looked kind of like my high school marine biology teacher. As I tried to angle myself in such a way that I could look for the telltale tattoo on her ankle, she smiled that “teacher smile” and said “You were one of my high school students, weren’t you”? The scales were tipped. We were no longer two moms with kids in line to see Santa, she was a TEACHER. I was star struck. Kids, right?!
My husband is also an instructor at the state college near us and I have witnessed his students react to seeing him out – there is that same superstar quality. “What?! He buys paper towels and dog food too?! NO WAY”!!!
I have seen this play out in the fire service too. At that event today, there was a little boy who desperately wanted to ride in the truck but was too shy to go along with a real firefighter even though his parents were going to be with him and it was just a lap around the building. Little Sister was puzzled and walked up to him to explain that the guy driving the truck was “just a Dad at work, really” which seemed to be enough for the boy.
But as I watched that, I got it. There are certain people and maybe even entire professions that we each hold sacred. There is a type of burden that goes along with that for those professionals and there is a saying that goes something along the lines of “never meet your heroes” because they can only fall from grace. I disagree. I have met front line heroes and even a few super famous ones and I can tell you that they haven’t disappointment me yet. If what we admire about them is a commendable quality and they are very good at it, chances are that they are passionate and curious and engaged in it. If you are one of these quiet heroes I wanted to say thank you and if you have one in mind I would suggest reaching out to them and telling them that you think highly of them. Genuine praise never gets old.