My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
Who is your hero?
These days, everyone wants to be famous. But, what is the price of fame? Kim Kardashian spends much of her time showing off to the world her material assets (rings, jewelry, bums, etc.), and you’ve heard reports of the resulting invasion of her home and her robbery in Paris. River Phoenix, Dana Plato, and a slew of other young stars lost their lives to fame. Princess Diana died while trying to get away from the paparazzi who hounded her.
Fame for fame’s sake is empty and fleeting. I once read a news account about a man in China who set the record for smoking the most cigarettes at one time, and then promptly keeled over dead. Now, I can’t even find the story on the internet. So, what did his “fame” achieve?
Real heroes leave their mark on the world for generations. Today, we still read about Plato, Leonardo da Vinci, Joan of Arc, Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau, and others who still inspire us to become our better selves. Kim Kardashian and others of that ilk will pass from memory the moment someone or something newer and shinier comes along. They are not real heroes.
We need real heroes to challenge and inspire us to better ourselves, not false ones who encourage us to give in to our baser instincts and lead us astray.
For thousands of years, heroic stories have been used to inspire, motivate, and transfer cultural values to children. The stories have a common pattern.
They begin with a likeable hero who encounters a challenge or roadblock in life. And then, with the help of others, the hero emerges from the difficult situation transformed by his or her experiences.
For example, Scott LaBarge wrote
When I was 16 years old, I read Henry David Thoreau’s book Walden for the first time, and it changed my life. I read about living deliberately, about sucking the marrow out of life, about not, when I had come to die, discovering that I had not lived, and I was electrified.
That’s what heroes can do. So, who’s your hero?
All my love, always,