I am on a quest. No, it’s not the Indiana Jones sort of quest (although that may be kind of fun!), it’s the proverbial quest as I search for something else.
There is something lacking in the world as I realized when I was teaching my writing class recently. While we were discussing the term "life lessons" and the role of Morrrie Schwartz from the best-seller "Tuesdays with Morrie", there was a stillness in the area.
In between giggles and spurts of "did you hear about this one?", most of my students had much to say about which celebrity just got arrested and the new reality series about, basically, nothing. Sadly, not too many of them had much to say about what the good these people brought into their lives. I guess they were well versed in the role of the "anti-role model."
Scratching my head, I began to question, "Why aren’t these kids noticing the “true” heroes in the world?"
The Non-Reality of Reality Television
I am all about noticing the underdog and fighting the good fight. However, when I asked my English 121 writing class one short question “Who are your role models?” I was stumped. They didn’t have any to share with me or at least, they didn’t have any they could think of that day.
My point is this, in a world that tends to glorify celebrities for all the wrong reasons (be it jail time or the newest addiction) dare I say that I think as a society, we have gotten a bit lost. As a result, many of our kids are paying the price.
I see my 14 year-old daughter watching My Sweet 16 and The Kardashians on TV to my dismay, no matter how much I lecture her that it’s not reality even thought it is advertised, ironically, as reality TV. The truth of the matter is, that is what exists in the news today, whether we like it or not.
As a result, my daughter is not hearing about Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech; she is more interested in the next episode of Kendra, the former Playboy bunny who has a sitcom about her life with a football star. Wonderful.
Sure it’s entertainment, but what can a teenager learn from these people? Well, the truth is, not much.
Recognizing and Honoring the Everyday Hero
The heroes in our lives don’t have to be as grand as Martin Luther King Jr. However, my point is, they are out there.
It could be the neighbor across the street who volunteers every Friday at the local soup kitchen or your uncle who fought in the Vietnam war. They all have a story to tell and tools to share with the rest of us. We just have to look for them and listen.
I firmly believe that positivity mentors are everywhere – at work, in school, the gym and in our own families. We just have to stop being preoccupied with other people’s lives and the useless tidbits they feed our brains – be it on TV or in the tabloids, and spend that time searching for more meaningful tools, other than what clothes to buy or shows to watch. All that stuff we see on VH1 and MTV, as entertaining as it is, does not compensate for the stories that we can hear (as well as learn from) from the everyday hero.
You Don't Have to Recreate the Wheel to Move Forward
Especially during times of change, crisis or simply that time in your life that you think, “there’s gotta be something more to this” when we need to step outside the box, get off the couch and really make a conscious choice to look for more substance to bring into your world.
It could be a matter of actually sitting down with a pen and paper and writing down names of the people who you have felt motivated by – be it a public figure or your sister. It’s the simple act of identifying these people who can help you incorporate more of their characteristics into your everyday life.
Espeically during times of change when you may feel off balance a bit, use these characteristics as a template to help you to move forward. To lead a successful, interesting and engaging life, you must continue to constantly develop and evolve. If you don’t, you will always be stuck and one-dimensional. But to constantly seek avenues to grow, will give you the tools on how to dig deeper and possibly a richer, more fulfilling life.
Make a Choice
Look beyond the magazine racks and the TV remote for find people in your life who inspire, evolve and continually seek avenues to "give back". Look to emulate these people who have made and continue to make a differene to the world around them.
It could be a matter of looking out your window – heroes are everywhere. All you have to do is look for them and I guarantee, you won’t be disappointed.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Martin Luther King Jr.