When people think about heroes, they often start with sports figures, as we can attest to here in St. Louis with our Cardinal baseball team. But I don’t consider people like David Freese or Chris Carpenter to be heroes. Their performances are exciting and entertaining, but not inspiring the way a hero’s should.
Malala Yousafzai, a 14 year old girl from Pakistan, is a hero. She took a bullet to the head by Taliban gunmen for openly supporting education for girls in her country last week. THAT is inspiring! One of my favorite literary heroes is Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. He did the right thing despite tremendous pressure from everyone around him, and he did it because he had such a strong, internal code of ethics that governed how he behaved. THAT is heroic!
So let’s be more careful about throwing the hero word around. Point out to your kids examples of real heroes, who are out there but who get less publicity. Kids get overwhelmed with pseudo-important people on reality shows and in the media. Make sure they read the stories of courageous people like Malala.