Authentic Hero

The character attributes of the Authentic Hero are: Desire, Humility, and Courage.

Authentic HeroFrom time immemorial, humans have been in search of a Super Hero.

You know:
• That omnipotent character, who can answer every question.
• The mighty one, who can save the day — and, those weaker souls among us. (Heck, even, we tough guys welcome a little time off from dragon slaying.)

In a political season, there are at least a couple of candidates proclaiming to be the solution to every problem. Flip a coin, pick the winner, and what you have is an individual just like you and me — and, a few billion other people. They’re just, another, regular person.

If there are no real-life Super Heroes, what are we to do? Give up? Tremble in fear? Trudge through each day with resignation and despair?

The simple answer is, “No.”

You, my friend, have everything required to be an Authentic Hero. Authentic trumps Super every time — because, Super is a figment of the imagination. Authentic is the heart and soul of greatness.

Okay, I realize some are reluctant to believe. So — let’s start with the undeniable. A comes before S in the English alphabet. Unless you’re the lead dog, the view never changes. Let’s take a look at what makes an Authentic Hero.

They are big believers in the KISS Principle: Keep It Simple Sweetheart. As a result, the character attributes of the Authentic Hero are: Desire, Humility, and Courage.


Authentic Heroes have The-Want-To. They know all we do begins with a thought. By guarding their hearts, positive thoughts are captured and nurtured into plans of action. With diligent preparation, those plans — one at a time — are implemented with precision.


Authentic Heroes — on bended knee — seek engagement to build mutually beneficial relationships. Theirs is an attitude of service for the greater good of all. They know that the joy of life is discovered in the Doing. Their purpose is to Enlighten, Empower, and Encourage.


Authentic Heroes accept the creed there is no greater love than to give our life — so, others might live more abundantly. They boldly face each day knowing, full well, mistakes will be made. Criticism is accepted as a badge of honor for the lessons to be learned.

Long after the Super narrative of the narcissist is forgotten, the life of the hero — offered in Authentic sacrifice — will be remembered, forever.

Code of Action

One little four-letter word is the Code for understanding the process of growth — for ourselves and others. “If it is good, do it with passion.”

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According to John Wayne, “A man’s got to have a code — a creed to live by, no matter his job.”

Behind every computer process are miles and miles of code. It is purposefully written to achieve a specific result.

What is your code? Do you have a creed to live by?

Mother Nature hates a vacuum. Unless we have diligently trained our mind and protected our heart, we are operating on a program designed by another. Rather than being the Captain of our own destiny, we might be on autopilot.

Consider this jingle, “If it feels good, …” By rote, we finish the sentence with, “do it.” Why, do we? Grab the controls of your life and let’s examine our codes.

On March 3rd, 2010, the state of Wyoming accepted into law a bill declaring The Code of the West the official state code of ethics. The ten principles come from author James P. Owen and his book Cowboy Ethics.

1. Live each day with courage.

2. Take pride in your work.

3. Always finish what you start.

4. Do what has to be done.

5. Be tough, but fair.

6. When you make a promise, keep it.

7. Ride for the brand.

8. Talk less and say more.

9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale.

10. Know where to draw the line.

There is nothing new under the sun. It even seems strange to reference the unwritten that was the guiding light for the early pioneers.

Yet, these principles were also chronicled by the famous western writer Zane Grey in his 1934 novel The Code of the West and by Ramon Adams a Western historian in his 1969 book The Cowman and His Code of Ethics. The Cowboy Code has been communicated in a variety of ways — by an army of fictional and real life heroes.

Knowing what to do — and Doing it — are two very different concepts.

Since the hedonistic programming of our society subtly soothes our selfish nature with the mantra of If it feels good, do It, we might not even know what we are doing.

A better approach to our growth (and, the growth of others) is possible by understanding: If it is good, do It — with Passion.

Speaking of which, let’s consider a simpler way of remembering all of the Code necessary for a life of joy and purpose. One four-letter word contains the foundational elements of good Code — LOVE.

Love is patient. Love is kind. Love rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

Take all of the code — the perfect lists of ten — from the many tough men, and you will find the true abode for peace of mind and purpose of will.

It is discovered in a Code of Action.

All Gave Some

Whether a shoot-’em-up Western, or the real-life sagas, I’ve noticed that the Good Guys and Gals always win. Each moment, of every day, they win.

Silverado HeroesSome Gave All

As we pause to consider those who serve, the gray of semantics bends a knee, of deference, to the black and white of right and wrong. We will honor those who make the ultimate sacrifice while wearing a uniform — and those who offer themselves as a living sacrifice, to make this world a better place.

In war and peace, there are heroes recognized for their bravery with medals of metal — and, there are those unsung heroes who exhibit their mettle, by always doing the right thing.

Each family has its traditions. With the passage of a quarter century, the movie Silverado is one of ours. The movie was released the summer of 1985, the birth year of my daughter, Lindsey. Superficially, it can be enjoyed as a shoot-’em-up Western. Its deeper themes are what make it a classic.

From the script are these three memorable quotes:

(Stella): The world is what you make of it, friend. If it doesn’t fit, you make alterations.

(Paden): I always figure you might as well approach life like everybody’s your friend or nobody is — don’t make much difference.

(Stella): From what I’ve seen, Paden doesn’t seem to care about money.
(Cobb): Ha! Paden doesn’t seem to care about anything — except, he does. You just can never tell what it’s going to be.

Have you ever noticed how heroes, real and fictional, are always so calm, cool, and collected? Right up to the moment of action. At that instant, all of the thought, planning, training, practice, and preparation is executed in a burst of laser-like focus. There is absolutely no ‘should we – shouldn’t we’ or ‘will we win – will we lose’ to their efforts. Our heroes, simply, do what is right.

Agreed, there are two moral issues at work: Character and Ethics.

Heroes do care, a lot. They care about their core and all of those whom they touch. They believe life is best experienced from the Inside, Out. Heroes can be recognized by what they are: Patient, Kind, Truthful, Protective, Trustworthy, Hopeful, and Perseverant. Those seven qualities are inherent in the Love they offer to all.

Regardless of the religion, or belief system, there is always a stated set of principles. In fact, the principles have existed long before anyone thought to write them down. The short version of all the tomes is this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.

Now, we come to the question for all of us, “Who, or what, is our God?”

For the judgmental types among us, I can boldly assure you that the answer to that question will be different for each of us. Even for those sitting in a church pew, your view of God is different from those on each side of you.

Silverado Risk All

The secret to answering the question, though, is to realize that our choice is singular. There can only be One, whom we serve.

At some point in all of our lives, we will bend, if not break, that rule. We will want to have our cake and to eat it, too. We will burn the candle at both ends. We will high-center on the fork-in-the-road.

Ultimately, we will learn: No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other.

Once we decide to risk all to make things right, then, Teddy Roosevelt eloquently describes the effort — To Do.

Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but, who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Citizenship in a Republic
Speech at the Sorbonne
Paris, France
April 23, 1910 (100 years, ago)

The three hyperlinks above are to the text of the full speech. Depending on your reading preference, the first is to the original website, the second is a PDF conversion of that site, and the third is a PDF document — printed in a larger font. Click on the hyperlinks, only if you want to be a better Citizen and of greater service to others. In the time of a thirty minute Sitcom, you can read a fitting tribute to great Citizens of the past, present, and future.

One of my heroes was named after the fellow who provided a home for my grandfather — who, at nine years of age, was already practicing the core principles of the Man in the Arena. My grandfather ran away from home to escape a wicked step-mother. James Burnett, senior, (J. M. Burnett) accepted Charles Arthur Foard, as one of his sons. My grandfather honored him by naming my dad, James Burnett Foard.

Jim Foard expressed his love for life by practicing the words credited to Jim Burnett, “I am bound to live up to the light I have. I must stand with anyone who stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong.”

Once again, through the lives of our heroes, the choice becomes obvious. Within our control is the choice of Right, or Wrong. Heroes, by word and deed, provide an example for us to follow — while, we are in their tutelage. In time, the choice will be ours, alone — to make, live, and share with others.

Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed on members of the United States armed forces who distinguish themselves — conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States. It is made of Gold.

The poster images, above, of the movie Silverado contain these expressions of inspiration:

Get ready for the ride of your life. Four strangers became friends. Four friends became heroes. On the road to… Silverado.

A dangerous place, in a lawless time… ‘Til four friends risked all to make things right. Ride with them to the adventure of your life!

For all of us, there is a beginning and an end. A tombstone reflects that. It is impossible to change our beginning. At any moment, though, we can write a new ending — to the movie of our life. In the same way that the dash on the marker of those who have fallen is of finite length, so is our time.

While uncertain of the length of our race, we can choose our Exit Strategy. Whether a shoot-’em-up Western, or the real life sagas, I’ve noticed that the Good Guys & Gals always win. Each moment, of every day, they win.

Sometimes their accomplishments are judged to be failures by the critics. Yet, our heroes take the lessons learned into the next battle. When the entire world acknowledges their success, our heroes defer the honor to all of those who were participants in the victory. They rest in the assurance that we have happy memories and will remember them, forever.

While gold medals are reserved to honor those who have sacrificed their life, let’s consider the silver to be a worthy recognition for the living — a reminder to present ourselves as a living sacrifice for the benefit of others. All will give some — and, some will give all.

Within the name is our mantra: Silver-A-Do. Let’s ride!

Silverado Warriors

Three Little Words

Men are invigorated by knowing they are Respected. Women are nourished by knowing they are Cherished

Listen to your Heart

When my twenty-four year old daughter takes time to draft an email reply for the sole purpose of teasing me, I know my efforts to tickle the keyboard in hopes of reaching her funny-bone have been successful.

Hey Dad!  Thanks for the note. My first question would have to be: What’s this about me being in a cylinder practicing the “3×5” with a Roman soldier?!  LOL!  …Sorry! Couldn’t resist!!!  haha..!  The vines were kinda swingin’ and swayin’ there for a while, but I’m pretty sure I read between em! 🙂 Thanks, Dad. Love you too!

My daughter has grown up in an era where “equality” has been the mantra.

A quote attributed to William Wrigley, Jr. gives pause to this notion of equality of the sexes: “When two men in business always agree, one of them is unnecessary.”

If we have come so far in our “evolution” that there is no difference between men and women, “Which gender will volunteer to disappear?” Or, “Which gender thinks the other is unnecessary?”

The introduction of the email to my daughter contained this observation from, and about, me:

For some crazy reason, tough guys struggle with expressing their love. Words don’t seem to do it. So, we swing through the jungle to show you how much we care.

As a student of relationship strategies, I’ve discovered many models present theorems based on quadrants. The DISC profile uses descriptors of Dominance, Influence, Steadiness and Conscientious. The KWML profile uses descriptors of King, Warrior, Magician and Lover.

In the course of “doing the parent thing” to my daughter, and her twenty-one year old brother, they have both been exposed to KWML, as an introduction to the notion that we are, all, unique and different – hard-wired at birth into one of the four quadrants. The fun is growing towards the other three and maturing to the point where we are “centered” and balanced.

Since I’ve incorporated the spectrum opposites of logic and emotion into my “Cowboy Poet & Philadelphia Lawyer” shtick, the stage was set for the email communication to my “little girl.” Rather than do the parent thing to her, one more time, the presentation was as if she had joined a conversation that I was having with a friend:

The Poet speaks of the feelings of an ever expanding heart, purpose and fate. The Warrior thinks in terms of logistics.

Remember that sea of umbrella toting singles? If you look closely, you will also see two other groups. There are those waifs, who have no umbrella and wait to be rescued from the consequences of their choices. And, there are those poor souls, who are hermetically sealed inside their bubble of bitterness. If you look even closer, what at first glance appeared to be umbrellas are actually shields held by the Warriors.

They are fully equipped to Serve, Share and Smile (The 3×5). Their gear includes the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes ready to pursue peace, shield of faith, helmet of insight, and the light saber of the Spirit. Giving the lead role to Kings, the stage to Magicians, and the sanctuary to Poets, these Warriors can be found on the fringes of the crowd thinking, “You are all safe on my watch.”

This one does it all believing, someday, a woman will choose to fold her umbrella, step close, wrap feminine arms around her man and express from the bottom of her soul, “Oh, my hero!”

My daughter will turn 24 in September. Her moniker is Foard Tuff, a word play on the original Ford Tough displayed at the Dealership where she works. In fact, the local community refers to her as the Ford Girl. Little do they know that she is a one-of-a-kind Foard Girl. She thinks it’s funnier than heck.

Dads have been known to be prejudicial. This one confesses in full. I’m very proud of my daughter. As her high school math teacher gushed in a Parent-Teacher Conference, “Your daughter is the perfect student. She does everything asked of her and does some things just for herself.” From high school and the extra-curricular activities within the community, she worked her way through college and a couple of relationships, enjoyed a bidding war for her talents in December of her senior year of college between the Ford Dealership (where she had worked for the last two years of college) and a Website Design firm (where she had worked the year before that) until she finally said, “Dad, it’s not about the money. I love my job!”

Gifted in all things creative, her umbrella is quite colorful. She holds it with a strong arm and a gracious spirit. Do I want some beast of a fellow to “trample her bloom”? We, both, know the answer to that silly question.

What I believe, and hope, is that someday there will be a gentle bear of a man dressed in his Roman Soldier finest, who is ready to practice the “3×5” with my daughter. At that time she can fold her umbrella and join him in the cylinder of protection he offers.

Should she pretend her umbrella no longer exists, destroy it, or have it locked away to atrophy? Again, the answer is, “No.”; “No, thanks and no way …”; to the definitive, “Heck, no!”

As much as that hero of hers will become a better man with her arms around him, he is only human. There will be times when his arms become tired and, as hard as it is for a guy to do, he will need to ask for her help in shielding them. Other times, the wind of fate will rip his shield to pieces and enemies will slash it to ribbons. While he repairs the damage, it will be my daughter’s umbrella protecting them.

On a daily basis, she will need her umbrella to journey through the day, just as he will need his shield in the daily course of battle. The secret to all of this is that as he drags home the trophy dragon at the end of his day, his life has purpose and that shield has real meaning because of a woman who chooses to fold her umbrella at the end of her day and wrap her arms around him – one more time.

The moral of this story:

Men are invigorated by knowing they are Respected. They need to hear and experience the actions that flow from these three little words,

“Oh, my hero!”

Women are nourished by knowing they are Cherished. They need to hear and experience the actions that flow from these three little words,

“I love you!”