“A true hero isn’t measured by the size of their strength, but by the size of their heart.” – Hercules
Its always lovely to engage in creative topics with the kids at school. A while ago my old class learnt about superheroes and the people who work bravely and tirelessly to make a positive difference to the lives of others. The children dressed up as their favourite male and female fictional and real life heroes; thought about what makes someone a hero; performed acts of kindness and received a welcome visit from the London Fire Brigade. It was a busy, and certainly memorable experience.
All this talk about heroes got me thinking about those who often go under the radar for their efforts to help others. These unsung heroes go that extra mile to save lives, educate the next generation, heal broken hearts, blast through obstacles in their way and help lift our spirits when it feels like the world has fallen apart. This includes the ever so amazing nurses, charity workers, fire fighters, single parents, therapists, rights activists, freedom fighters, teaching assistants and many others just like you and me.
All too often, it’s the popular social climbers, goal scorers, fame hungry reality TV stars and uber wealthy that are catapulted to heroic celebrity status overnight. Adored by millions, both nationally and worldwide, mostly through social media, many people class them as today’s real heroes. Don’t get me wrong, there are some brilliant high profile celebrities who work hard and raise funds to support good causes, but it tends to be the fame and money which puts them on a heroic pedestal.
I think it’s important for children to understand what a real hero is and what a hero is not. Everyday in some way, youngsters face new challenges when learning how to do things for the first time. This can be developing social and play skills; striving to put new skills to the test; learning how to speak up for themselves; becoming more confident and even making eye contact with their peers and teachers. I told my class that by not giving up on themselves they have the same courage, bravery and self-determined approach as their favourite hero. The children then loved looking into their own eyes in a mirror and being told that a hero was staring back at them.
“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell
Next, I reminded the class that a person doesn’t have to be a huge film star, footballer or mega rich and famous to be an idolised hero, even though they may have great talents. A real hero can be a regular person just like them, who bravely stands up for what they believe in, trusts their instincts and treats everyone with dignity, kindness and respect.
As a class we also thought about each child’s special qualities and how they can be mini heroes by being kind to themselves and others. We drew detailed pictures of recent acts of their own bravery and inner strength, despite initially feeling scared or worried. The stock photo on the left shows just how frightening a good night’s can be for any child. One boy in my class illustrated himself scared at the dentist for the first time and another child drew a picture of herself afraid to go through a dark tunnel with her family. Then, whilst looking at the finished pictures, we thought about how the kids went against the odds and conquered their fears. This was incredibly empowering!
Lastly, my class watched Kid President’s video below. Listening to another child humorously announce how they can be heroes too, light heartedly inspired my class beyond belief.
“Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary” – Gerard Way
Whether you’re a young person, teacher, parent or just reading this out of interest, I hope this post inspires you to think about how you can be a real life hero today. A simple act of kindness, walking away from an unhealthy situation, being a good friend or standing up for yourself, can take you on a brave and remarkable road towards being a hero.
Miss H ♥