A student I taught was stabbed at a shopping centre a few years ago. He ran to tackle an individual who was attacking others in what was likely a gang initiation. In the process this young man was hurt. Fortunately his injuries were not fatal. He took some time off, healed up and came back to school.
You can bet I asked him questions. I wanted details. I wanted nit and grit. Once he had filled me in I made some light hearted comments about how he has this crazy story, like an old grandpa veteran. And then I said this “I don’t know if you get what your instinctual response means. Where people were running away from the shopping centre to save themselves you were running right into the danger to try and stop a bad person. There is something innately good about you. Something about your instinct in this world that gives me hope.”
The kid was silent for a moment. I’m mean let’s face it, he was a teenager. He just smiled, nodded and said thank you for the comment.
David and I were at a book signing at a store in a nearby city. An elderly woman walked by with her husband and asked about our books. We pitched: It’s about two teenage boys who chase serial killers–a modern day Hardy Boys. Grandma’s face instantly scowled. “Well, I don’t like that. The world is a dark enough place I don’t want to read about it.” She walked away. Dave and I were a little concerned about her reaction. We had a two hour drive to think and talk about it.
When I think of Charlie Wolfe and Tony Shepherd, our main characters, I think they are cut from that same cloth as the boy in my class. They are trying to do good when they can, trying to make a difference, to help people. There will always be darkness but the job of the hero is to walk into the darkness shining light and giving us hope.
Though nothing, will drive them away
We can beat them, just for one day
We can be heroes, just for one dayDavid Bowie
I love that some people are natural heros, means we don’t all have to be heros. However, heroism seems to be frowned upon perhaps because it makes us stand out? Are we being coached to let someone else take care of us? Kudos to your young student and to your stories!
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