Everyone looks to heroes for inspiration, but never as much as when we’re young.
When we’re defining ourselves and our values, finding that person — real or fictional — with the traits you want to emulate, can be a crucial step toward outlining your goals and how you want to lead your life.
Beginning in preschool, children often choose the adults closest to them as their heroes; parents, other relatives and teachers, because whoever is taking care of them is their moral authority.
As they reach adolescence and begin to question their parents’ authority, they begin to look for heroes outside of their immediate sphere, often finding them in the popular media of their day.
Anyone Can Be a Hero
They also find heroic figures within their communities. Some wear uniforms as one of the first responders to a traffic accident or a personal crisis. Another might be an athlete out to achieve a personal record or sending their team to an undefeated record. Your child’s hero could be serving in the military on a combat mission or in a medical center to fight disease and promote healthy living.
These are among our most visible heroes, and the ones kids and teens, in particular, look to as role models.
Just listen for a moment, though, and you’ll hear the songs of unsung heroes.
They’re songs of hope, of comfort, of solutions. They can come from 911 dispatchers coaching a crime victim to safety. They can be social workers finding shelter for homeless people or animal shelter workers saving homeless pets. You hear them about the people growing food for our population, serving meals in soup kitchens and delivering them as Meals on Wheels.
Compassion and cooperation are the defining traits of all these people.
They have compassion for everyone, knowing everyone has difficult times and requires assistance at one point or another. They want to see the children around them grow into happy, productive adults. They strive to improve the circumstances of everyone they meet.
And they work with others to create sustainable results for the people, animals and environments they assist. These everyday heroes are woven into their communities, with the background and support system they need to make fixes that stick.
Let us tell you the stories of some of our local heroes and hope you can draw inspiration from them, whatever your age!