Laura and I were having a fascinating conversation with good friends which rolled around to the topic of teaching children about their future roles as adults. We got to talking about the types of role models that children have and the messages that they are being fed from our society about those adult roles. Out of that conversation came the following gem – speaking about a person being sensitive to the needs of those around them and responding to the needs of others rather than being focused on their own needs and their own image:
“That’s the difference between being a hero and being an idol.” Denise Black
The meaning being that an idol is someone who we might look up to who is more concerned with their image than their substance while a hero is more concerned with being worthy of emulation than they are with their level of popularity. In case anyone is wondering, there are those among the ranks of our social idols (musicians, athletes, actors) who qualify as heroes under this definition. The key is to help our children understand the difference between the idols and the real heroes.