Mother’s Day is coming up, this Sunday to be exact. Most people use this day to honor their mother’s for all the work they do and all they give up for their children. I know my mom is a hero of mine and I’m certain that at least a majority of you feel the same way.
Mom’s can inspire us to do great things or simply help us realize that they’ll always be there for us. I want all of you to think about your mother or the motherly figure in your life and write down all of their heroic traits. Writing these down may help you realize how important and amazing they are.
Don’t forget to thank them and give them a hug either!
Posted by stephenkessel on May 5, 2008
Definition: the understanding of what is true or right using both knowledge and common sense.
Wisdom is somewhat of a rare heroic trait. There are plenty of heroes that have wisdom, but sometimes it’s hard to see what exactly wisdom is. A great way to find this heroic trait is to look at a great hero, then look for their mentor.
- Gandalf, from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, is a perfect example of a wise mentor. He advises Frodo and the rest of the Fellowship throughout the story. Without his wisdom and guidance, Sauron and his evil forces would have prevailed.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi was also a wise mentor for Luke Skywalker. He teaches Luke to use the force and advises him even after his death.
Another way to find wisdom is to look in a place of hardship and find a leader of change.
- Desmond Tutu is a spiritual leader in South Africa. He is the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, meaning he’s retired from that post, but still keeps the title. Widely regarded as the “moral conscience of South Africa,” he is a main activist in stopping the AIDS epidemic. He is also a member of an esteemed group of wise people called The Elders, which is a group that’s task is to solve the world’s problems, one at a time.
Who are some of your mentors who give you wise advice?
Why is wisdom an important heroic trait for mentors, heroes, etc.?
Posted by stephenkessel on April 18, 2008
Definition: the ability to see the potential of change around you.
“Be the change you want to see in the world…”
Vision isn’t something that is limited to superheroes with x-ray vision or larger-than-life figures from history. But, we can learn from those historical figures and even characters in a book to teach us to “see”.
- Gandhi was a man from India who fought for poor farmers that were on British lands and also fought for Indian independence. Once India gained its independence, it still was divided by religion. Gandhi also was successful at breaking down those barriers as well.
- Jonas, the main character from the book The Giver, has a very unique sense of vision. He saw that once he received the memories from The Giver, that the people in his community needed those memories as well. He saw that they would have an overall better life, even though they might feel some pain.
Everyone can see a potential change for the good in people, ideas, and things around them. A person doesn’t have to change a whole country or save a community from itself. All it takes is a little effort that not everyone is used to. A hero will “see” how they can affect things for the better.
What does vision mean to you?
Is vision really an important heroic trait for a hero to have?
Posted by stephenkessel on April 10, 2008
Definition: a fair and objective look at people, things, and ideas different to one’s own.
Tolerance goes hand in hand with equality and respect. When people are willing to look past any preconceived notions they have, they realize that regardless of who someone is, they are still a person that deserves respect.
- Nelson Mandela has been a fighter for tolerance and against apartheid. The South African government segregated the black majority and treated them very poorly. Nelson Mandela was put in jail for twenty-seven years and even while he was in jail, he continued to fight for the freedom of his people.
- Scout Finch is the narrator for a great book called To Kill a Mockingbird. She goes through a journey discovering what tolerance truly means. She sees the evils of intolerance throughout Tom Robinson’s trial and uses that lesson at the end of the book by letting “Boo” Radley be after he saves her from the town drunk.
Many instances of intolerance come from those who choose not to see that just because you don’t agree with somebody, doesn’t mean you can’t respect them either. Respect is something a hero gives everyone, despite their feelings towards them.
Why would tolerance be a necessary characteristic for a young hero?
What are some ways that you could you be tolerant to others?
Posted by stephenkessel on April 3, 2008
Definition: the quality of concern for the welfare of others over your own welfare.
Selflessness is an extremely important heroic trait, maybe the most important. It is the driving force behind heroism. Heroes become heroes when they do something for others. Someone who does something only for self-gain cannot be called a hero until he or she gives of them self in some way.
- Florence Nightingale knew she was called to be a nurse. Her desire to care for the sick and poor was incredible and she sacrificed many things in order to fulfill that need. She set an example for patient care and compassion for today’s nurses.
- Lightning McQueen didn’t start out selfless. All he cared about was himself. He finally learned the valuable lessons from his friends and thought of others more than himself. Just before reaching the finish line and winning the coveted Piston Cup, he stops and helps the King finish his last race.
The greatest heroes the world has ever known, whether real or fictional, have been selfless. They fight solely for others and take no personal gain into account. A lot of legendary heroes were known to be so selfless that they sacrificed their own life.
But, selflessness can also range from the simple act of letting your friend take the last piece of pizza or even to sacrificing your time for an elderly person. There are so many things a person can do to act selflessly.
What are some things you can do to act selflessly?
Why can’t a hero be selfish (the opposite of selfless) and still be considered a major hero?
Posted by stephenkessel on March 27, 2008
Definition: a steady will to complete a task in spite of any obstacles before you.
Perseverance is a trait many find inspirational. When anyone hears of someone doing something amazing like Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France an incredible seven consecutive times after battling cancer, it’s hard not to feel fired up. Many people feel that only the most amazing person is capable of persevering, but the fact is, all you need is patience.
- When Helen Keller was a baby, she contracted a serious illness which ultimately left her deaf and blind.
- In Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, Brian Robeson is left stranded in the wilderness after the pilot of his small aircraft has a heart attack and crashes the plane.
Both of these people used patience and perseverance to become heroes and better versions of themselves. They never gave up.
- Helen Keller became the first deaf/blind person to earn a Bachelor’s degree, which wouldn’t have happened if she had given up.
- And Brian Robeson survived fifty-four days of being all by himself in the Canadian wilderness. He would’ve died if not for his ability to persevere.
Either of these people could have given up. But they didn’t. The most amazing thing about Helen Keller, Brian Robeson, and many others is that they were ordinary people who did something extraordinary. They actively chose to move past their obstacles instead of letting their troubles get the best of them.
Why is perseverance an important heroic trait?
What are some ways that everyday people carry on and persevere?
Posted by stephenkessel on March 20, 2008
Definition: a willingness to continuously follow moral and ethical standards.
Integrity can give us some of the hardest, but also most rewarding, lessons. A hero cannot be moral or ethical only once and call themselves “heroic.” In order to have integrity, a hero must continuously practice a moral and ethical way of living no matter how difficult it may be.
- Abraham Lincoln was a great man of integrity. His leadership and guidance through the Civil War helped slaves gain their freedom. He is constantly regarded as our greatest president because of his integrity and moral standard.
- Ofelia, the main character from the movie Pan’s Labyrinth, shows an extreme amount of integrity by not giving up the life of an innocent, even though she was told it was the only way to get back to her kingdom, and instead sacrificing her own life.
Integrity means telling the truth to yourself as well as others. A hero who has integrity is the same person to their friends and family as they are to strangers and even themselves.
When you think of the word integrity, what do you see?
What would you do if you wound a purse or wallet with over $500 inside?
Posted by stephenkessel on March 13, 2008
Definition: confidence or trust in a person, religion, or thing.
Faith is a heroic trait many people associate with religion. Many heroes we know that have faith as their major heroic trait come from religion.
- St. Thérèse was born in France in the late 19th-century. She was called to be a nun and tried as soon as she could to get into the order. Once she actually became one, she was known for her tremendous faith and more importantly, what was called her “little way.” She believed she could show her appreciation for God in doing little things every day instead of one extraordinary deed.
But, having faith doesn’t necessarily mean having your belief in religion. You can also have faith in your best friend or parents being there for you when things get rough or you can strongly believe in the words of someone important before you to guide you through your trials.
- In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana Jones has to retrieve the Holy Grail because the supposed healing powers will help his father not die from a gunshot wound to his chest. He has to go through three trials, the last of which is a leap of faith.
Indy takes the leap of faith because he has faith that the person who wrote the challenges didn’t lie or was wrong. It’s a faith like that that can be the most powerful, whether it comes from a religious sort or not.
When you think of faith, what do you think of and why?
Can you name three heroes that put faith at the forefront of their life?
Posted by stephenkessel on February 28, 2008
Definition: the quality of choosing to face difficulty, pain and/or danger.
Courage is one of the heroic traits that usually makes people think of climbing Mount Everest or jumping in front of a bus to throw someone out of harm’s way. While those are both very courageous things, most people might not realize courage takes many forms.
- Prince Zuko from the show Avatar: The Last Airbender first shows immense courage by facing his father and telling him that he is switching to the Avatar’s side. He faced his father’s blast of lightning and calmly threw it back at him.
- Rosa Parks showed courage by not giving up her seat in the front of the bus to a white man, which was an offense that came with jail time. She sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott which showed the first true sign of Black economic and political power.
Courage isn’t only conquering another warrior from an invading kingdom or running into a burning building to save people who are trapped. Courage can be standing up for what is right against a few or thousands, working a job you do not want in order for your family to be well off, or just simply choosing to be heroic everyday.
- Prince Zuko and Rosa Parks simply stood up for what was right. Prince Zuko switched to the good side while Rosa Parks would not give up her bus seat.
When you think of courage, what do you think of?
Who is the most courageous person you know and why?
Posted by stephenkessel on February 21, 2008
Definition: a loving feeling that shows concern and empathy for others.
Caring might be one of the most important heroic traits. It can encompass a great amount of heroic acts as simple as caring for your sick brother or sister or as broad as building a school for villages in Afghanistan.
- James P. Sullivan at first is frightened by “Boo”, the little girl who ventured into the monster world. After he spends more time with her he realizes that he cares more about her than anything…he even risks his life for her.
- Greg Mortenson builds schools for children in Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan. He saw how undereducated the children were, especially the girls, and provided the schools that they desperately needed.
One of the best things about caring is that it’s something everyone can do. Not everyone can sail across the Atlantic or be as wise as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings, but all of you can practice little acts of caring everyday and still be an amazing hero.
Who are some of your heroes that have caring as their most easily seen heroic trait?
Where does caring rank in the list of heroic traits?
Posted by stephenkessel on February 14, 2008