Insights: Calling all Real Heroes

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heroesLiving in a world that is all about selfies, success and looks, it seems we have often lost the concept of community, being altruistic in our giving and being a ‘hero’ to others.

Social media can be fun and has its benefits. I love being able to communicate with friends back in New Zealand so easily and show them pictures of my vacations or of my daughter and I.

However, what I have also seen is people more focused on taking pictures of themselves and posting them to show how they are having such a great time that they truly do not get to experience the intimacy of the people they are with or even with themselves.

Social media has become an easy way to minimize others, bully and isolate. So sad, especially for teenagers who are already developmentally struggling with their identity. Studies are showing that this generation is losing its ability to read social cues and is struggling with a higher rate of depression and anxiety.

I have always been under the belief that looking at the greater good creates better lives, better communities and ultimately a better world.

We need more heroes. Not to say heroes are not out there, they are and that is what I want your help with this week. Let me tell you more.

The idea of a being a hero is not taught in schools; rather, students are taught how to compete.

I vote for the hero.

J Michael Straczynski, writer, producer and the creator of the TV show “Babylon 5,” once said, “For a lot of people Superman is and has always been America’s hero. He stands for what we believe is the best within us: limitless strength tempered by compassion that can bear adversity and emerge stronger on the other side. He stands for what we all feel we would like to be able to stand for, when standing is hardest.”

That is what I would like to see more of.

Something I was part of last year was a charity event called Hearts and Hands. It is an event that happens once a year where you show up and you get to pick an activity to help others.

Maybe you can crochet a hat for the homeless, or put together hygiene packs for soldiers or make blankets for terminally ill babies, or even make bags to send aid to Nicaragua.

My hero last year was a woman at this event who was blind and yes she was participating like the rest of us. She saw past her own self and focused on others and their needs.

We can all be heroic, and we all do know a hero.

Part of this years ‘Hearts and Hands’ is about honoring heroes. Take the time and honor the heroes you know. Go online and post who you believe is a hero in your life at Or send me an email and let me know who and why they are a hero and I will post it at this years event.

If you are interested in attending, “Hearts and Hands 2014” will be held Saturday, Nov. 22 from 9 .a.m. to 3 p.m. You do not have to stay the whole time, just come for an hour if you want. Lunch is served by the Newport Beach Fire Department so come eat and enjoy. The address is 801 Dover Drive.

There will also be a Red Cross Blood Drive and they will be collecting eyeglasses, plastic grocery bags and canned goods.

You get to be a hero to that one person that you make a blanket for, or make a bag for. You get to truly make a difference by sharing a small part of your day.

Being a hero does not mean stop taking your selfies, it just means balancing this out with paying attention to others, showing compassion. Be brave, show up at all times, the good and the bad.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort but where he stands at times of challenge and discovery.”

Contact Dr. Zavala at [email protected] or


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