July 20th, 2015
With this year’s Summer Reading theme of “Every Hero Has a Story,” we will take time to reflect on what a hero is. The concept of a hero is an ever-changing one in our society. For small children, the only reference point of hero is what they see on television and in video games such as Spiderman and Batman. For elderly adults, it may be the person who takes them to the store or spends time with them.
Teenagers, however, may find it harder to identify a hero as they are in the middle-ground between childhood and adulthood. There are many gray areas— what can you do, what can’t you do, what do you believe in, what don’t you believe in, who are your friends, where do you belong—so many questions! All of these uncertainties make it difficult to define a hero.
Teenagers lose their sense of awe in the extraordinary. They may find it hard to suspend reality and view their childhood “heroes” in that capacity any longer. In addition, they are too cool to think of a parent or community helper, such as a police officer, as a hero. Often, teens will look at other outside sources for motivation and hero-worship. You may ask your teen who their hero is and often be answered with the latest music artist or sports personality. In some respects, this may be a viable hero. In others, maybe not so much!
As we take time to reflect on what a hero is to each of us, we note that heroes can take on many different shapes, sizes, and incarnations. Children, teens, and adults can find plenty of inspiration at the library. We have books, movies, and programs that provide access to traditional “super” heroes as well as other non-traditional heroes such as animal search and rescue heroes, military heroes, and everyday heroes who have overcome extreme obstacles.
Perryville Branch Library is hosting a teen program on Thursday, July 23rd at 3 PM called “Heroes Among Us”. Teens will be asked what the word “hero” means to them and challenged to identify a hero of their own. Teens will participate in games and activities to explore heroism and discuss ways that real-life heroes differ from heroes we see in books, movies, and comics.
So think about it….who is YOUR everyday hero?