Heroes get talked about – a lot. Groups are quick to rally around sports stars or performers who are showing the world their competence and mastery. The Olympics provide all nations with a chance to compete – and win – on behalf of their country. And the musical world cherishes the surprising newcomer – the latest star.
Media in each country is covered in images and stories about their gallant athletes, bold new leaders and innovative musicians – citizens who reflect the strength and talent of their group. Stereotype enforcers – or busters. People who look like me starring on the world stage.
Heroes aren’t just characters with super-powers. Heroes can simply be the people who get a lot of attention. Who gets talked about? Often? Who keeps showing up on the front page – or the news? We can hyper-focus on heroes’ lives – what they wear, or drive, or say. Many musical or sports stars wouldn’t be identified as heroes – but if we focus on them, our children get the message that there is something essential or important about them. They rightfully assume there is something to aspire to.
We serve the next generation well if we find ways to populate our panoply of our cultural heroes with equal amounts of unique or special characters with characters who celebrate togetherness and belonging.