Why do we need Heroes? My husband and I are always on the hunt for people in history or in real life that will inspire our children. This week, I invite families to explore their list of personal Heroes in order to present one to us all. To get you started, here are images of some famous human rights heroes from my Freedoms, Rights & Responsibilities blog that I posted a few years back. I have peppered this week’s blog with links to favorite biographies we found at our local libraries. Hero Day will roll out in similar fashion to last year’s History FUN day, where each child (with or w/out parental assistance) took a turn sharing a about someone (or some animal) with costumes, props, visual aids, and/or food.
By sharing the stories of people like Jeannette Rankin, Jacques Cousteau, Miriam Makeba or Fibonacci as heroic, my daughters are absorbing values that will help guide them at the forks in their lives. Heroes oftentimes start out as ordinary as you and I, but then seem to opt for a different path than what was expected. Some decided after they were told something couldn’t be done. Heroes attempt to do “the impossible” over and over again. Some have risked their homes, their families and their lives to do what they felt was right. And each of them made tried to make their world better.
The Olympics are filled with heroes and only last week, Diana Nyad, at age 62 made her 4th attempt (her first occurred during her 20’s) to swim from Cuba to the tip of Florida. That is 103 miles without ever getting out of the ocean. She set a goal for herself and kept a positive focus as well as took her setbacks with the utmost grace. She had to get out of the water a mere 30 miles shy of her goal, succumbing to severe storms, painful jellyfish stings and severe sunburn. And yet to the reporters she viewed her experience to be “not about the destination, it was about determination and inspiration!” That’s the kind of people I want my children to consider when making decisions in their lives. Diana, might have not been a swimmer, had it not been for Annetter Kellerman, the Mermaid Queen who swam the world.
In our house, we honor failures and mistakes. This is where “Active Learning” occurs. If a project is completed glitch-free, what we learn isn’t nearly as bountiful as when things don’t go as planned. When something doesn’t go as planned, there is an opportunity to truly engage our brains to determine what works, rule out variables, and find the motivation to keep going through adversities. We reaffirm the pride in pushing past obstacles with anecdotes of modern and historical figures, like Nicola Tesla, Marie Curie, Louis Pasteur. “Energy and persistence conquer all things,”said Benjamin Franklin.
Quite recently, a 15-year old, Jack Andraka, invented an early detection test for many cancers, including the pancreatic cancer. We emphasized to our girls that Jack sent 200 letters requesting a chance to test out his theory in a lab. And he was rejected 199 times. But he only needed the one. Incidentally, the test cost $0.03 and he patented the tests and hired a tough patent attorney to insure that the tests remain affordable. Or look at 13-year old Aiden, our Fibonacci specialist, who linked the pattern of trees to optimize solar panel usage. By placing solar panels in similar patterns to the leaves on trees (a sequence re-discovered by Fibonacci in 1400’s), Aiden can harness 20%-50% more energy from the sun. These heroes has ONE great idea and found people to help support them to bring it to life.
Einstein, one of our planet’s greatest intellectual and scientific minds once said, ” “There is not the slightest indication that energy will ever be obtainable from the atom.” See, we can get it wrong and still be great!
Who is the next hero to inspire you or your family? I can’t wait to hear about them from you and your children this week. Please get to the park as close as 1:00 pm in order to best support the efforts of our M&B kids. Email if you are planning on attending and presenting so I can determine the best place to take a play break between presentations to keep our audience in “Fly Form!”