Everyone grows up with a favorite fictional role model, whether from movies or literature. Characters like Superman, Wonder Woman, Harry Potter, and the various Disney Princesses are some of the earliest sources of inspiration placed in front of us. We’ve learned great lessons from many of these characters—lessons of bravery, compassion, and justice that stick with us as we grow.
Your kids can probably tell you all about their favorite characters. But can they tell you all about Mother Theresa? Or what about Martin Luther King, Jr.? It’s no secret that the media our children consume makes a lasting impact on their character, which is why it’s important that parents share movies and books with positive messages. But these positive messages don’t always have to be fictional. In fact, it’s even better to share stories with your children about the brave real life men and women who have left a positive legacy in the world. These stories can be about famous public figures or the veteran next door who risked his life for our country. Get your kids as obsessed with these heroes as they are with Batman. Here are some fun ways to do this.
If you like to read or share stories with your children before bed, this is the perfect time to share a short real life lesson. Introduce the topic as a new and interesting story (Once upon a time…). Put it into words and terms that a child would understand. At the end, reveal that it was a true story and emphasize the importance of that hero’s actions and why he or she did the right thing.
Get a little help from your local historians
Take a trip to the museum or your city’s memorials to show your kids some heroes. This is a fun way to get out and spend quality time together while teaching your kids some lessons through the legacies of those who have made an impact before us. They’ll learn history, culture, and values to become well-rounded in their knowledge and interests.
Introduce your kids to those who inspire you
You don’t have to be famous to be a hero. Who inspires you? Your parents? Grandparents? A neighbor or friend? If you know someone who’s had a positive impact on your life, chances are they can be a positive influence on your children, too. Let them spend time with your kids and share their life stories with them. Sometimes children absorb a lesson better from someone else, and they’ll create a new and special relationship with someone who is also dear to your heart.