THERE comes a point in every parent’s life when it becomes patently clear that your child has seen right through you.
No longer are you the most hilarious, gorgeous, wonderful person on earth. From hero to zero in approximately 13 years, you are suddenly unmasked as fairly ordinary.
Relegated to the person who cooks dinner, cleans the house and is generally very annoying, attention is instead lavished on an overpaid footballer, an airhead television reality star or floppy haired boy band singer whose looks – I know from experience of falling desperately in love with David Cassidy – will definitely not stand the test of time.
In my teenager’s case, hero of the hour is someone called Ryan Williams. Unless you also have a stunt scooter addict in the family, the name will be meaningless.
Of course at 13 you’re allowed to choose heroes on a whim – sport, fashion, film, music are what make the teenage world go round. But what about the rest of us? Who are our heroes?
The tendency is to look to the household names – being famous must mean you’ve done much more than simply got up, gone to work, come home, eaten dinner and shouted at the kids to go to bed.
Recently, however, much closer to home, real life “heroes” have emerged. Inspiring, touching and thought-provoking, what they do might not earn them £1 million before lunch or win an Oscar, but they certainly make our corner of the world a better place.
People like Gullane mum Laura Young who turned the heartache of losing her eight-year-old daughter Verity into The Teapot Trust, which provides art therapy for sick children, and who has just won Tesco’s Charitable Mum of the Year title. And even Mike and Anna Christopherson whose pub, Sofi’s in Leith, has received an award for its community spirit in the form of knitting clubs, dog walking groups and, of all things, a booze-free running club.
Still stuck for a hero? Just read through the Pride of Edinburgh Award nominations. There’s Barbara McNaught who has spent years caring for special needs children, Michael Boyd who has shown remarkable courage after cancer robbed him of the sight in one eye and drama teacher John Naples-Campbell who uses his own experience of bullying to raise awareness of homophobia, to name a few.
Ordinary people doing extraordinary things – surely that has to be worthy of the title “hero”?
• Nominate someone for a Pride of Edinburgh Award by going to www.prideofedinburgh.co.uk