“I Need a Hero!”

GeekMom TV and Movies

How many of you remember that song from 1985?  I sure do.  I loved it then, and I love it now.  This version by British band Frou Frou (as heard in the Shrek 2 closing credits) is also good.

The theme song to the Veggie Tales’ character “Larry Boy” also comes to mind.

Lately I’ve been thinking about heroes.

We all have our thoughts and visions about heroes.  Superman, The X-Men, the Louisiana National Guard after Hurricane Katrina, FDNY, SEAL Team Six, The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant workers, an ER doctor in Joplin, MO…folks who give of themselves to serve the greater good.

Here’s an easy definition.  For the purposes of this discussion, I’m mainly referring to Definition #1, even though one might argue that Definitions #2 and #3 are perhaps more suitable for this audience.  I’m thinking about role model-type heroes.

With 8- and 6-year-old sons, I think a lot about who would be heroes to my sons.  I’m starting to see a glimpse of it with my oldest son, who pays close attention to Evan Longoria on the Tampa Bay Rays, and he always reads the “Scouts in Action” section of each and every Boys’ Life magazine he receives.  He also looks up to every player on the Pittsburgh Steelers.  My youngest son made role models out of CBS’s The Amazing Race’s Jet and Cord McCoy.

Recent news events have made me rather bitter about role models lately.  I can’t help but feel saddened when news about otherwise good people receives a lot of attention.  I got agitated about Greg Mortensen’s CAI allegations, Tiger Woods’ affair, Arnold Schwartzenegger’s marital collapse and secret child, and most recently Lance Armstrong’s teammates’ interviews on 60 Minutes last Sunday.  I had a discussion with GeekMom Kathy C. earlier this week about society perhaps putting “role models” on too high a pedestal.

I know I shouldn’t be bitter about this.  After all, they’re human too, right?  We can’t expect perfection, neither from these “role models” nor from our own kids.  As my kids get older, I need to prepare myself to talk with my boys about role models/heroes not being perfect.  Many of these great people who my children respect might commit moral or ethical violations.  My sons might ask “Why?”

I’m not sure yet what my answer will be…

Deep down, I secretly hope my sons will one day consider great scientists like Albert Einstein, Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, or Randy Pausch their role models.  I have visions of my sons decorating their rooms with great scientist posters, like Flint Lockwood did in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (this link is to one of the illustrators’ blogs).

Have any of you ever had to explain to your children about a role model receiving negative publicity?

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2 thoughts on ““I Need a Hero!”

  1. I guess you just have to keep emphasizing the Everyone Is Just a Person-ness. I wish more people had commented because I can’t think of much intelligent to add! It just reminds me of me as a teenager and rock musicians. I was the world’s worst goody-goody as a child– everything was so black and white with me, and obviously Drugs are Bad so people who DO drugs must be bad… and then I fell in love with psychedelic music! I really had to adjust my perceptions and learn to accept that people who created such brilliant art could also do stupid and dangerous things. It really took me awhile to come to grips with it though!

    1. Thanks for your perspective Rockinlibrarian. That’s certainly what I plan to do with my boys. I was hoping I’d trigger some more dialogue too…oh well!

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