It’s important for our kids to have heroes, but heroes can be hard to find. Our pop culture dominated by movie stars and music icons offers few real heroes. And while the sports world has some extraordinary men and women, it’s hard for our children to relate to their world of fame and fans.
Where can we find men and women to serve as role models for our children? They need heroes who inspire them to integrity, hard work, commitment and service to others. We can look to history and fiction, but there are also heroes all around us. Here are 6 places to find real heroes for your child.
1. Find Real Heroes in Your Family.
Family heroes not only inspire children but help them build their identity. Let the older generation tell stories of how they built their career or immigrated to America or overcame difficulties. Celebrate couples in your family who valued marriage and modeled authentic love and commitment. One of our family heroes is an uncle who started a small dairy farm, raised seven children with his Dutch wife, and daily worked in the fields and barn into his late 70s.
2. Find Real Heroes in Your School.
As a single mom, it was important for me to find men who could help my boys navigate their teen years. One coach in particular and one parent who volunteered with sports helped fill this role. They were men of character who I trusted to speak into my boys and model for them what I couldn’t as a mom. Look for a teacher, a guidance counselor or a coach who will challenge your child and whom your child can look up to.
3. Find Real Heroes in Your Neighborhood.
Mr. B has lived around the corner from us for 13 years. We’ve waved to him on his daily walks and stopped to talk about his garden. When I discovered he was a veteran of three wars, I had him over for spaghetti. His stories of foreign countries and deployments were living history and while he’d probably shrug off the title, Mr. B’s lifetime of loyal service makes him a hero in our book.
4. Find Real Heroes in Your Church.
Years ago, our family met an older couple at church who became heroes for us. The husband had retired early and volunteered his building skills to help churches and orphanages, repair wells in Haiti and organize building trips across the U.S. His wife regularly opened her home for dinners, meetings and guests. They served on multiple boards, volunteered in their church and the community, gave generously when they saw need, and lived a life of service.
5. Find Real Heroes in Your Community.
Most communities are full of real heroes. When a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, her husband left her and her two boys. Out of her need, she founded a non-profit to help other women with cancer pay light bills and rent bills. My friend’s cancer was terminal but her legacy lives on in the foundation which continues to raise money and share resources with cancer patients in need. Her courage to help others in the face of her own illness is what makes her a hero.
6. Find the Real Hero in Your Child.
We cultivate heroes for our children so they have men and women to emulate. Our goal is to help our children become heroes through their integrity, their commitment, and their service to others. We can teach our children to be honest and trustworthy, even when no one is looking. We can help them develop commitment in their activities and relationships. And finally, we help them become a hero by teaching them to look for need and find a way to meet that need.
Tell us! Who is a real hero that you know?