Inspire children with heroic storiesPublished 4:59pm Saturday, June 30, 2012
Question: Do children have real life heroes and heroines any more?
Answer: I think the more important question is whether adults have real life heroes and heroines any more? Over the weekend I participated in a discussion about Greek mythology and how those stories carried messages about the circumstances of life. We were talking about the symbols and the stories that inspire us. Because we will soon be celebrating the Fourth of July, the conversation also included the names of famous patriots.
Personally, I am most inspired by the stories of ordinary people with extraordinary integrity, courage and creativity. Susan B. Anthony, for instance, is my relative from my mother’s side of the family. Did you know that Susan B. Anthony would get up on a public outdoor platform, in her full length black dress and black bonnet, to speak on women’s right to vote and that the men in the crowd would throw rotten tomatoes at her? She would stand absolutely still while she was pelted with those tomatoes, waiting until they had all been thrown. Then she would give her speech and the crowd would stay and listen. It makes me think I should be able to handle the stresses of my work.
Then there is this impressive true story that Kathleen Warren, a Canadian great-grandmother who grew up in England, personally shared with me. During World War II, people who were living alone found it difficult to get a variety of food. Eggs were rationed, one egg per person per month. Her mother was out visiting people, sharing vegetables from her garden, when she thought of something more she could do. She talked it over with Kathleen’s father and they agreed to make a sacrifice in order to help others. They would keep chickens. In those days, it took three months to get a permit for the wire to keep chickens enclosed and it took another three months of waiting to acquire it. In the meantime, her mother and father used their egg ration to buy chicken meal. That meant that for six months they did not eat eggs. Finally they got the wire and eight chickens. The first chicken started laying in about 2 months and in one year 1,537 eggs got laid. Kathleen’s mother and father delivered all those eggs day by day in a basket as gifts to people.
Susan B. Anthony and Kathleen Warren’s parents are real heroines and heroes. You have people like them in your family history, too. Be sure to tell your kids about them.
If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in raising children, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out www.familiesandcommunities.org.