Kids Growing Up to Be Heroes
What heroes really are? Are there different types of heroes? Is there one kind of hero or several types of heroes? In this article, I will try to define heroes, and describe their differences from other characters. Through this framework, we can understand better what heroes are, and how we can empathize with them.
A hero is basically a person or an independent main fictional character who, by virtue of extraordinary courage, cleverness, or physical prowess, fights adversity in the face of extreme odds through feats of strength, imagination, or skill. Unlike other previously only gender-specific words, a hero can be used to describe any gender, although hero usually refers to only women. This word “hero” came into use in the 18th century with the French phrase “hombre” (a hero). In recent years, other languages and cultures have also come to use the term to describe people, not just women, with exceptional abilities.
Based on the results of several studies conducted, experts suggest that heroes have certain characteristics shared by many ordinary individuals. These characteristics include having an optimistic perspective about life; taking action despite great personal risk; exceeding expected values of interpersonal relationship and self-worth; and the ability to accept and deal with extreme emotional pain, anxiety, and stress. Based on the results of studies, experts suggest that there is a genetic factor that contributes to some people being more aggressive and courageous than the others. According to some studies, the incidence of violence and aggression may run in families.
Some famous heroes have been portrayed in movies, cartoons, and books. One example is Batman, who are known for fighting villains such as the Joker, and rescue others from the bad guys. Other fictional characters that have been depicted as great heroes include Wonder Woman, The Hulk, and Superman. Wonder Woman is considered as a strong character, who has the ability to fly, see through walls, and arm herself with weapons to fight against enemies. The Hulk, on the other hand, is a green, giant, angry monster who is strong enough to throw enemies and powerful enough to be a worthy opponent for any super-being. Superman, on the other hand, is a legendary billionaire who can lift entire buildings using his heat energy, and have the ability to fly, swim, and see things other people cannot.
The researchers believe that children growing up with supportive parents who value personal risk and who teach them to set goals, develop their creativity and pursue their own dreams are likely to turn into ideal heroes. These heroes can then help others during their lives. However, contrary to what most people think, becoming a hero does not automatically mean putting yourself in dangerous situations. For example, while Batman fights villains, Wonder Woman saves others, and Superman protects the world, your choice of which hero to be is not determined by the level of risk you are willing to take.
What is also interesting about this research is that it shows that most children will choose one category of heroes or another as they grow up. So, if you are a scientist who wants to become an astronaut, you will identify with one aspect of being a hero: taking heroic actions. If, however, you want to become a businessman, you will identify with another aspect of becoming a hero: doing heroic deeds. In general, according to this research, you will begin to see heroes as you grow older and as you start to explore different types of heroes. From that viewpoint, you might even begin to identify with other heroes as well!