The Russian media reported this week the deaths of two soldiers, the most recent of whom stopped a suicide-bomb attack on a humanitarian aid distribution center but was himself killed as well. The other was a soldier named Mikhail Shirokopyas, a sergeant and career soldier from Siberia. Sgt. Shirokopyas died from wounds sustained while guarding a humanitarian aid convoy near Aleppo, which was attacked by moderate rebels.
Shirokopyas left behind a wife and a 13 year-old daughter. It is noteworthy how many slain Allied soldiers were married men and fathers. The toll has been a lot heavier on the Syrians---an estimated 11% of Syrian children are now orphans: thanks to the Jihad.
But in our postmodern Western dystopias, where both fatherhood and heroism are held in contempt, such sacrifices are difficult to comprehend. The fact is that fatherhood and heroism are culturally closely related concepts; and, typically when a culture degenerates, both disappear together. Contemporary male reaction to a story like Sgt. Shirokopyas' typically comes in one of two ways. The effete male feminist type affects a cynical sneer and thinks it a purposeless sacrifice; while the Red Pill manly-alpha-leader type shakes his head that anyone could be foolhardy enough to risk his life.
In contemporary America, the Smart Boys all agree that those in the know never assume responsibility, work hard, or make personal sacrifices. Those things are for suckers and chumps. The postmodern successful man knows that winning the Game is about getting suckers and chumps to do all those things, while he reaps the rewards for their actions. In less politically correct times, such men were referred to more commonly as shysters and rooks. Back then, facing responsibility with manly courage was far more honorable than knowing how to work the system.
When one considers what a father actually does, we see that he assumes responsibility for the provision and protection of a woman and her children. Heroism is only one step removed from that in that it extends provision and protection to a community or nation. In a religious context, sainthood is the step beyond that those, extending those responsibilities to a Faith.
So it is not surprising that fathers like Sgt. Shirokopyas would risk---and sometimes lose---their lives for a greater good. Deprive men of a belief in a greater good and society produces 'heroes' who look like this instead.
So far from being a useless sacrifice, actions that these family men who've died in Syria have saved literally hundreds of lives. Had one not been present to stop a Jihadi suicide bomber, how many more would have died? Can any of us say that one of the boys whose life was saved that day won't live to be a greater man than the soldier who saved him?
And that is what Fatherhood is all about. There is an old maxim which truly says that the two things a man really wants before he dies is to see his sons higher than himself and his enemies, lower. That's what heroism is all about, too. But we see in our culture today is a world everyone is lower than everyone else instead. And until men want to be fathers again and women want to be mothers again---don't look for any heroes here any time soon.