Thursday, November 16, 2006

Heroes--Sunday Scribbling




























I think when I was a kid I must have wanted to be a hero. Not like superman or a firefighter. I wanted to be the hero in the novel, the “plucky” kid who overcame adversity and triumphed in the end. Most of my favorite and often read stories involved these heroic youths. Some of these heroes were actually not human but that was fine with me. My hero could be a hobbit (LOTR), a rabbit (Watership Down), a deer (Bambi—from the book, not the Disney movie) or a person. I wanted to write great stories in my attic like Jo March or sell my hair to support my family. Some of my heroes were orphans, like Taran in the Lloyd Alexander series. Although I wasn’t orphaned I could identify with their search for their own identity and with their resilience despite loss. In kids’ novels, loss makes people stronger and they find true friends along their journeys.
Books supported me in hard times. They were my best friends and they could be counted on never to turn on me. The ones I had read many times before became a comfort zone. There were no surprises, but I could still share the hero’s ups and downs.
Kids today have rediscovered literary heroes in reading the Harry Potter books. I would have loved encountering Harry as a child. He is the perfect orphan, overcoming adversity and a really bad guy. (Of course in real life, I was more of a Hermione type). As a parent, I have read the Harry Potter books more than once. Each book is read aloud to my older child, then my younger son as he “aged” into it. Partway through the read-aloud, I get impatient with how long it takes to cover the book and read the rest in one sitting before my own bedtime. We listen to the book-on-tape on a car trip or I listen during my commute to work. (Incidentally, the reader of the Harry Potter series, Jim Dale is fabulous).
Nowadays, the only dragons I slay are internal. I try to fight my inner Voldemorts and Saurons, and teach my kids to do the same. The real-life heroes in my life are the parents I work with who are coping with mentally ill or disabled kids, as well as the sufferers themselves, who get up every day to a world as grim as any Mordor or as scary as any forest after dark. The times I feel, just a little bit, heroic are when I have helped someone conquer their OCD or depression, or simply, when I realize that I am raising my own kids to be the fine, young men that they are and will be.
Heroes change as you grow up.

14 comments:

Barb said...

This was a great post. I am a book lover, too. And some other things you touched on relate to me right now as well.

Maven said...

i also use books to escape, the same ones over and over again. G-d bless you for helping parents and kids overcome their real life evil. mental health is everything.

AnnieElf said...

I see a theme developing with the writers this week. Parents are truly heroes.

Amber said...

What a really great scribble. I found myself smailing and noding along all the way!

:)

paris parfait said...

Amen! Very well said. The power of books to change people's lives (young and old) is amazing - and the power of people to overcome obstacles and not only survive, but thrive astonishes me. Lovely post.

my backyard said...

books were my friends, too.

Jane said...

That was a great Sunday Scribble! Loved your reference to Harry Potter and I too wished we had him around when I was younger. Real or imaginary, heroes are all around us.

swampgrrl said...

a fabulous scribble! i feel the same when i help someone in my professional life (which is similar to yours).

and an excellent photograph.

Pepper said...

When I was a child I wanted to join the Happy Hollisters. I could see myself as a sibling to Pete, Pam, Ricky, Holly and Sue. Helping them solve mysteries. I loved those books.

Books is a great means of escapism for me.

PtCakes said...

Great post. Books are a wonderful escape. But I find writing even better.

Bug said...

I love how you relate real life to Harry Potter's world. Very nice!

Patry Francis said...

I like the way you make the point that heroism is most often found in the small, unsung things we do.

Jane Poe (aka Deborah) said...

I too related to the world of literary heroes. Great piece and great reminder of childhood. much peace, JP

blackdaisies said...

fantastic ... the literary heroes are what got me through my childhood I think ... : )