Everyday heroes we encounter are important influences on our lives. They have the ability to alter our thinking and, often, even the direction of our decision-making. This post is part of a series I am writing about the heroes I have met.
Name: Maria and Helmut
Profession: social worker, mathematician
Marital Status: married
Children: three daughters
Place of Origin: small villages in southern Germany
How we met:
Maria and Helmut moved into an apartment in the house where I was living when Maria was veryvery pregnant with their first daughter. The owner of the house was an eccentric landscape architect, whose offices and private residence were on the ground floor. I was living in the attic apartment. Maria and Helmut moved into the apartment on the second floor.
Maria and Helmut were the first “alternative” people I met in Erlangen, a politically conservative region of Germany. Alternatives, are people who are green, liberal, environmentally conscientious and politically engaged. Now, I may have been liberal, but more or less out from default: being young and having artistic leanings. I had no notion whatsoever about any of the other things. It took me quite a while to find out what those things were, because Maria and Helmut don’t talk much about their beliefs, they live them.
What changed my thinking:
These two people have shown me over the past three decades in the most mild and graceful way that social and political conviction is not ideology but a life practice.