Could YOU be a hero?

How did you become the good person you know you are?

I heard the story of "The Stanford Prison Experiment" on NPR this morning, which demonstrated how even good people can be trapped into very evil behavior simply for the sake of "going along with the crowd.
The question the story posed is "can people be taught to be heroes?"
I believe that we train ourselves  - and our children  - to "do the right thing" regularly, but that our insulated and protected society offers challenges to "do the right thing" so infrequently, that we just don't get enough practice.  And "practice", after all, "makes perfect".  
We make sure our kids can practice their music, playing the same tune every day to prepare for the concert.  They practice soccer or baseball 4 times a week for the week-end games - and they practice the games sometimes 3 times in a single week-end.
We need to help our kids practice their character - and we need to show by example.
This is why we refrain from using explicatives and search for a better way to express ourselves, why we don't simply help ourselves to a candy bar and walk out the door without paying, why we don't cheat on exams or our taxes, why we don't tell white lies or make promises we never intend to keep.  This is why we discipline ourselves to develop our character.  
Sure there are rules and laws invoked from external authorities which could invoke severe consequences if we were to be caught.  But is the question about whether we will get caught?   Or is the question about what kind of people we are - what kind of person "I am", what is our personal character?  This is practice by internally - from within, each time we have a choice to respond to that voice inside that asks, "is that right?"
And practicing our character is what determines our character's response when the opportunity to do the right thing is laid at our feet.
It's not a new idea.  Remember this quote from Evan Almighty?
This I believe, approaches the essence of the FIRST concept of "Gracious Professionalism", a value practiced and rewarded in all levels of FIRST activities from Kindergarten through High School.
What do you think Gracious Professionalism means to your team?  Please click the link below to let me know your opinion.
*"Coopertition" and "Gracious Professionalism" are phrases trademarked by US FIRST