By Corinne Wnek
If there was ever a time that we needed boldness administered with compassion and reality tempered with understanding, I think it is now. As a child, I remember growing up hearing my parents tell stories about life after the stock market crash in 1929, when lives were put on hold and little children sold apples in the streets to help their nearly destitute families. Back then, people needed jobs for their survival. For many, that’s true today, too. But we need more. We need heroes for our revival.
One of several dictionaries I own defines a hero as ‘someone noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose’. By definition then, parents are heroes, although I doubt many kids would give a high five to that. But don’t throw out that ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ shirt just yet. In a few years, when they want to borrow the car or need some extra cash and you cave, your kids will realize you actually did earn that title and are, in fact, their hero.
I have lots of heroes in my life and not one of them ever saved someone inside a burning building, wears a cape or could scale tall buildings faster than you can say ‘spider man’. They do help me to feel courageous when I don’t feel anything, they give me a noble purpose when I have lost my way and they get me to soar when I feel weighed down. I think a hero can rescue you from yourself. All we need to do is look around us to see some real action figures. Just don’t look for a supped up car or a cape.
Take my friend Shawna the dance teacher. She encouraged me to get back into dance when my daughter was a student at her studio. I had not been dancing for a while at that time and I thought the best I could do then was maybe take a class and just try to keep up. Before I knew it, I was filling in for Shawna and other teachers whenever they were sick. Like riding a bike, there are some things you just don’t forget. I was meant to do this and so my family room was quickly converted into my private studio.
“You’re good with the kids and you know this stuff, why don’t you teach your own class starting in the fall?” she asked. That one class grew to seven over the next couple of years and soon I was enmeshed in dance, choreographing almost half the numbers for the June recital, including the only tap number for high school boys!
I learned all the technical aspects of performing in a professional theater from lighting issues to writing accurate tech notes for the stage hands to working with microphones. I learned that time is money when you rent the theater and that picking out a costume for a class is not as easy as it looks. My ten years as a dance teacher allowed me to bring to the surface creative concepts with movement and music that I didn’t know I could do or even if, in the dance world, was ‘allowed’. Shawna made it okay.
Heroes get you to take risks, to put yourself out there for scrutiny and to be unafraid to make a mistake. Heroes lift you up but not always with one hand tied behind their back flying at breakneck speed. A hero gives you the means to lift yourself up to heights you never imagined you could get to. A true hero brings out the hero in you. Go ahead. Be somebody’s hero.
Who needs Batman?
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