Jimmy Tuman, National Youth Speaker

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Real Life Heroes

by Lance Fletcher
Saginaw Valley State University

Today I'm looking at two people: one real, one imaginary. The two people are James Tuman and Superman. How can a seemingly average man compared to one of America's most well-known superheroes? Over the past couple decades; we've seen an increase of what we like to call a superhero. In our minds we have constructed what we classify a superhero or hero to be. We've seen movies made about them and even songs that portray how we see the idea of hero. So how is James Tuman a world renowned public speaker a real-life hero to so many across the world? To save a life is one of the most important things any one man can do for another in the world. Superman relates to my real-life hero because he can hear when someone is in trouble(death may be imminent) and they're both there in a flash, that is exactly like my real-life hero would be, it comes within reason of course, because no one can really be there in a matter of a second. To most, James may seem like an average Joe but he can do more than Superman in the idea of being able to help in times of crisis, James can talk you through a real-life problem. Superman is incapable of doing that. Also most people would say that a real hero could lose some of the time. But when it comes to Superman how often does he really lose? The answer to this question is hardly ever (Mark). But is there more to being a hero than just saving the lives of the people who ask or scream for help? Can't someone who needs help not always have the opportunity to say they need help? That's where James comes in as a real-life hero to so many people.

James Tuman a man of many stories; is a public speaker who grew up in the heart of New York City. James was born in the early 1940s and had one older brother. James has become one of the world's most renowned public speakers on youth prevention (suicide). Thus making him a real-life hero to many families, James has a famous quote "who's the most important person in your life why is it so hard for you all to say, I am you are the most important person in your life." (Tuman 2011) James has made many strides throughout his life to help the less fortunate throughout the United States and other poor countries of the world, he has been named Michiganian of the year two times throughout his life. Most recent was in 2009. In 1988 James teamed up with four guys from the Detroit Metro area and created his most prized organization known as the Jimmy's kids program. The program has grown to over 300 volunteers on Christmas morning and more than 2000 children who receive a surprise visit from Santa on Christmas morning this is what makes Jim to men a real-life hero (Tuman, 2011). So how have the world's views on heroes changed over the past couple of decades?

Superman is the only survivor of a planet called Krypton. Superman was found by a couple from small built Kansas in a space typed five as newborn the couple decided to keep him and raise him as their own, naming him Clark. At age 18 Clark was taken back to the location of the ship that he was found in 18 years earlier. They are Clark was told how he was found by his known adoptive parents. After realizing that he had superpowers he vowed to only use his powers for the good of all mankind. Clark then went on to study journalism at Metropolis University. Clark was then given the nickname Superman by his adoptive parents when he would use his powers in public. He was also dubbed Superman by Lois Lane of the Metropolis daily, for his saving work of a Nassau plane Superman lives by the values that his foster parents raised him by. Superman lives by a couple of morals and they are "truth, justice, and the American way, " (stuff) after studying journalism at Metropolis University Superman became a reporter for the captain planet so this is how an imaginary character is labeled a hero. He works day and night to help keep people of the world safe from evil villains in natural disasters that occur throughout the year.

Over the past several decades the ideals of heroes and heroism have changed. Recently two people were asked this question. How has your perception of what a hero is changed over the past 15 years. Here is what Kassie Smith had to say "heroism has changed in the idea that we've gone from superheroes such as Superman or Batman to more personal ideas, and we now are more focused on ordinary people who do extraordinary things for others. It's more of a personal thing like firemen and soldiers " (Smith, 2011). It's really amazing to think that one time if you wanted to be considered a superhero or even a hero at all you had to do was be a figure on paper and have no real values to follow. There was no one who could put you in your place. But today it seems you must be more than just a person on paper. You must lead a life that others can model or be modeled by others, be a proactive citizen of today's society by keeping the needs of others in the back of your head. So what constitutes an act of heroism? It depends on where you're at in the world what could be defined as an act of heroism.

An act of heroism can be defined as "courageous action "in other words heroism is anything that one or more people do to help other human beings out; it could be a simple is giving $.10 to giving a cup of coffee or being in the right place at the right time to save a life. Look at 911 all the fallen are considered heroes in the eyes of most Americans this is what Kassie Smith had to say; "heroism is performing an act that comes from the heart that carries concern for the well-being of others. "Also asked was, do you think that culture plays a role in heroism. "Definitely, because different cultures have different ideas as to what a hero is. In America we we see saving a life as her heroic, but in other countries like Egypt social changes can be viewed as her heroic or if you look at Africa someone bringing in food to the country could be viewed as a hero."

The hero James Tuman is just like David Dunn in the movie untouchable, when David Dunn one of the main characters is the only survivor of a train wreck that killed 131 people James would be that one person and say I was not meant to die this way. He can relate to Superman in the idea of being invincible, till he meets his match Elijah Price; the antihero of the movie. As for James to men David Dunn is like him in many ways, David is in denial of being a superhero. Much like James is in denial at being a hero to thousands of people throughout the world. David Dunn does not realize the full impact that he may have on a person or situation that he may become involved in. James is much the same in the idea he may never know how many lives he has touched throughout his life of public speaking or through the many programs he has become involved in.

The ideas and ideals of what a hero is have changed so much over the past years. But there are many people who can be considered heroes who never get the recognition they deserve. Simply put it takes more to be a hero than just being an average Joe. James to men is a true life hero. But there are millions of people who may never know. But to me and thousands of others James is a real life hero, simply for being himself.

Grant Public Schools   •   Notre Dame Prep
Northern Highlands High School   •   Holly High School
Lakeland High School   •   Portage Public Schools   •   Portage Central High School
Real Life Heroes   •   The Leadership Initiative   •   Robert Humphrey
Kimie Ueoka   •   Chase Petroelje   •   Plainview-Old Bethpage High School
Dustin Peltz   •   Boyne City Public Schools   •   JFK High School
Lowcountry Graduate Center   •   Mancelona High School   •   Email Letter
Mancelona Schools   •   Zeeland West High School   •   Rogers City Schools
Royal Oak High School   •   Vicksburg High School   •   Walkerville Public Schools

Read Jimmy's Open Letter To Schools

Download Jimmy's
Self Directed Goals Program

Download Jimmy's Circle of Influence handout.

Email: jim@jimtuman.com

Phone: 248-585-1515


Jimmy Tuman

      "Happy People Live Outside Themselves."


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