The Modern Wonder Woman | Teen Ink

The Modern Wonder Woman

September 11, 2008
By Anonymous

The Modern Wonder Woman

Since my day of birth, I have always been in the presence of a hero. A hero does not need a cape and brightly colored spandex, but all heroes have one thing in common: a heart. Their hearts work for the common good of all people, even if sacrifice is necessary to get there. There is no specific set of qualifications that need to be fulfilled to be recognized as a hero. Different people are considered heroes in different ways. My mother is my hero because no matter what happens to her, she keeps her composure through it all.

Because she was raised in a family with 5 brothers and no sisters, my mom quickly learned that not everything is fair, and nothing is perfect. “I was a servant and slave to my brothers, but I liked doing it,” she said. “It gave me something to do, and I liked taking care of them.” Joannie Noel was raised in a strong, Catholic family, and went to church every Sunday at St. Michael’s Parish. My mom went to grade school and high school no further than walking distance from her home. She graduated from Cardinal Ritter High School, and headed off to Purdue University. Joannie went to nursing school, and worked at a hospital in the oncology ward. When asked about what she wanted to accomplish by being a nurse, she replied that she wanted a job that would impact people in a positive way. Although she loved nursing, there was more to her life than just that.

Years later, she met Brian Kinnaman on a blind date set up by friends of theirs. They became engaged, and they married soon after that. My parents became Joannie and Brian Kinnaman, and they had five children together; the middle child is me. My dad works as a CPA, and my mom became a full time mother. Although she was not working anymore, that did not mean her knowledge of nursing would not be put to use.

Along with a group of people, my mother helped to start Trinity Free Clinic. Trinity Free Clinic is, hence the name, a free medical clinic for the underprivileged people in Hamilton County. It offers eye, dental, and medical treatment to people who cannot afford sufficient care. My mom has always been interested in doing missionary work, but because of her family, she has never been able to leave the country. Instead, she can work in “her own backyard”. Seeing what my mom has done has sparked inspiration inside of me. I look up to her a lot, and even in the eyes of all of her patients, my mother is a hero.

My mom is a hero for so many reasons. First of all, she is not the type of person to quickly buckle under the weight of adversity. My grandfather lives with us, and he has Alzheimer’s. My mom, along with my dad, took my grandpa under her special care; however, that job is never easy. He requires a lot of attention, and it can be really difficult sometimes. Through all of her trials, she has always been focused on what she needs to do. All heroes are determined, and that is one of the reasons my mom is a hero to me.

The next reason why Joannie is a hero is because she has a big heart. She cannot stand to see any injustice. Her heart is like a big drum, and all it wants is to set everything in a positive rhythm. Whenever somebody is treated unfairly, Joannie wants to do something about it. I think her compassionate heart is a heroic trait because if heroes did not have a caring personality, would they not be considered villains? That is why Joannie’s compassion is the second of four traits that make her a hero.

The third trait that makes my mom heroic is her courage. Whatever life throws at her, she catches it and deals with it. Whether it is getting over a family member’s death or seeing her first child off to college, she takes on everything head first. I have always admired her gumption, and I think it is one of her most admirable traits.

Lastly, Joannie is full of wisdom. She can finish a crossword puzzle in the Sunday paper in less than 20 minutes, but she can also listen to your dilemmas and tell you exactly what you need to do. No matter what happens, she has an answer for almost everything! Wisdom is not something extremely rare. A lot of other people are gifted with it. My mom shares a lot of her traits with other people like Odysseus.

Joannie and Odysseus have their courage in common. Of course there are not one-eyed cannibals in Westfield, Indiana, but modern times call for the term “hero” to evolve. I asked my mom what her definition of hero was, and she said, “A hero is someone who takes chances for the greater good, and risks failure.” My mom did that when she joined Trinity Free Clinic. It was an opportunity to improve the lives of other people, and she most definitely risked failure. Likewise, Odysseus took many chances that risked failure. For instance, binding his men on the undersides of sheep was going to save them and get them out of the cave, but there was a major risk that Polyphemus would see right through the plan and kill all of his men. Nobody quite has to do something like what Odysseus did to be considered heroic. They can do something much simpler.

I asked my mom about people who are heroes in our daily life, and she replied, “People who are truly heroes do not want to be identified. That is just their nature.” This is true because most heroes have the characteristic of humility along with fearlessness, integrity, and trust. Somebody like a firefighter can be considered a hero. He does not think of himself as one. He thinks of it only as his job and duty. In the same way that my mom is a hero to me, anybody can be a hero to one another.

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