Brad Meltzer has written a new book entitled, "Heroes For My Son". The basic idea was the simple musing of a new parent, "What kind of man do I want my son to be?" I'm sure it's a question all parents wonder at some point. But the "simple idea" took on a life of it's own when Meltzer realized that just naming people like Abraham Lincoln was easy. What about the stories behind what makes a great man? Or woman. Did you know the Wright Brothers brought along extra materials when they tested their airplane...for when it crashed? Not because they believed they were always doomed to fail, but because they were prepared to keep trying in spite of failure.
I like that attitude.
Melzter had a convincing argument for heroes, "History doesn’t just pick people. History picks everyone. Every day. The only question is, do you pay attention…do you put in the hard work…do you hear that calling?"
Although the book is composed of 52 heroic subjects, I wondered if I could name ten...not including friends or family. After all, I was raised by great parents, I have a wonderful Hubby and a friend from college who STILL understands me and yet she loves me in spite of it. Those are my "personal" heroes but because you don't know them, that doesn't seem to count.
So here's a simple challenge: name 5 of your heroes and if you feel like sharing, tell us why. Here's my stab at it:
Mark Twain: despite the "political correctness" now being forced onto his stories, the fact is, the man was a great storyteller. Besides, through him I learned you can tell stories using a pseudonym and not go to jail. (What? Did you really think my name is 'hope'?)
Capt. Kangaroo: So this is a nod to my childhood. For those not familiar, before the days of "Sesame Street" there was this children's show with an emphasis on enjoying the silliness of childhood, combined with reading. To this day, my favorite childhood book is "Stone Soup", followed by "Caps for Sale", both of which the Capt. read to us often. As an adult, I added a copy of both to my bookshelf.
The Mercury Seven: no, not to be confused with some political activist group of the 1960s, these were the first 7 NASA astronauts. I have no idea why I liked Gus Grisham best, but he was one of the astronauts who died in a fire on the launchpad during a test. With these men is a nod to Gene Kranz, Flight Director during that time. These men made me believe we could go anywhere....you just had to work hard and keep trying.
Tom Hanks: yes, the actor. Why? Because he has been able to portray so many faces of America (and one completely made up foreign country if you saw "The Terminal") in a way which illustrates the one trait we all share: we're human..and more alike than we realize. He's my modern day Jimmy Stewart: the "all American Every Man" before movies came from Hollyweird.
Elizabeth Kitchen: okay, you don't know her personally, but if you write, chances are you had an English teacher like her. She was my 7th grade teacher and inspired me to learn as many words as possible. I still remember how she pronounced "Cacophony" with such enthusiasm. With her white hair and plump cheeks, she reminded me of Santa's missus. And I love the fact that her "punishment" once got the best of her. Chewing gum in her class was forbidden; get caught and you had to memorize a poem to recite in front of the class. At that age, reciting, poetry, punishment and public was not a good combination for the ego. My friend Pete got caught and as he rose to face the punishment, there was a twinkle in that 13 year old boy's eye. Rather than select a quick poem to get it over with, he'd memorized a sappy love poem. His delivery was so moving, half the girls in the class swooned. Mrs. Kitchen kept her composure as Boy Romeo finished his recitation, nodded that his punishment was complete and indicated he should return to his seat. As he did, her cheeks flushed the pink of a young girl, totally smitten.
That's the start of my list. What about yours?