What is a hero? “A person, who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities,” “Any person who tries to improve the world has courage, is a hero.”
We have been invited to become a hero in our world. We all have the power within us to be heroes, perhaps just to our family, perhaps to our community, perhaps to the animal kingdom or a rescue organization. We can become heroes by making our personal environment a better place to live, perhaps not a big hero like Nellie McClung, but a hero nonetheless.
As a young girl, Nellie McClung questioned traditional “women’s roles.” She recounts, for example, being an excited nine year old looking forward to her first small town public picnic. “I was hoping there would be a race for girls…. But the whole question of girls competing in races was frowned upon. Skirts would fly upward and legs would show! And it was not nice for little girls, or big ones either, to show their legs! I wanted to know why, but I was hushed up.”
Nellie didn’t give up. Nellie McClung’s personal commitment to women’s rights became her political cause as well. I persist until I succeed.
In 1912, Manitoba women formed the Political Equality League to improve women’s working conditions. To rally public support, the League held a Mock Parliament on January 28, 1914. The subject of debate was whether or not men should have the vote. A male delegation presented its case for male suffrage, and then “Premier” Nellie McClung rose to speak. She complimented the men on their splendid gentlemanly appearance, then she launched into her satiric attack: “Oh no, man is made for something higher and better than voting…Politics unsettles men, and unsettled men mean unsettled bills ? broken furniture, broken vows, and ? divorce!” The resounding success of the Mock Parliament lent energy and support to the League’s campaign. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
On January 28, 1916, Manitoba became the first Canadian province to give women the vote. Nellie McClung continued to fight for women’s suffrage in other provinces, and saw, slowly but steadily, tradition giving way to equality. What we think about grows.
How things have changed in the last 100 years. Nellie may not have seen herself as a hero, but women today certainly see her as a hero. Women not only have the right to vote, but they also have the right to hold some of the highest political positions in country.
How can you become a hero in your world? Can you make changes that will ultimately make it easier for your family to pursue their dreams? If you were able to do something, which would allow your spouse to not have to work, make you a hero? If you could take your children on a vacation of their dreams, would that make you a hero? If you take in foster kids, cats or dogs, you will be a hero to them. We have all kinds of heroes in the world both big and small. What kind of hero do you want to be?