As a mother of three sons, I could probably teach Superheroes 101. After all, I've been rubbing shoulders with these fictional characters for years. After enough Iron Man backpacks, Spider-Man costumes, Batman cars and Avengers snacks, I wanted to find real-life heroes who could inspire my boys in the same way as these comic-book characters. These men and women would allow my kids to see that brave and noble adventures are found in the real world, as well. Here is what I did:
First, I studied my children. Their interests became a springboard for my research. One of my sons seemed especially touched by the bravery of soldiers. So I taught him about the youngest general of the Revolutionary War, a man named Lafayette, who served without pay.
Closer to home
Our own family tree includes an ancestor who recovered money stolen during a stagecoach robbery. He received a reward from the bank for his efforts. My boys were excited to learn this Wild West hero was their own great-great-great-great-grandpa.
Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton lost her arm when a shark attacked her. Her unwavering faith in God and her tenacity in making a surfing comeback is legendary. Sharing inspirational biographies with my children has allowed them to learn about people today who have done something heroic.
Sometimes we must look under the surface to find the heroes among us. By seeking out opportunities to volunteer with local seniors, talking with them and learning about their stories, my boys and I connected with many whose heroism was disguised only by the mask of old age.
Never underestimate the power of a true tale in the life of a child — it may just inspire him to be a real-life hero.