An Unlikely Hero
I grew up during the time when cartoons were only shown on one channel, on Saturday mornings, from 9 to 12 noon. This was a treat called ‘Saturday Fun Machine.’ We looked forward to it every week because there was nothing interesting to watch on TV all week.
We grew up on the adventures of the Superfriends. The Justice League showed us many heroes and villains, their quirks and motivations, and how they interacted with others. Mainly, I remember how good always trumps evil in the end.
I was sitting with my sons watching cartoons the other day. I think it is not good that cartoons are available 24/7. So sometimes I watch with my children to get an idea what makes for entertainment these days.
They were watching the antics of a superhero i was not so familiar with. There was a scene where the hero found himself overmatched by several villains and had to retreat. He ran. The villains gave chase. The hero looked back, and with a dismayed look on his face (probably upset that the villains had the gall to chase him), picked up a moving car from the highway, flipped it over, causing a multi-vehicle accident just to slow down his pursuers. He then proceeded on his way causing more damage to the buildings and other objects that hampered his escape.
My jaw dropped.
What are we teaching our children through the television these days?
What happened to the occupants of the moving vehicle?
What happened to the other passengers in the multi-vehicle collision?
Running away when the odds are too great does not really inspire one to take a stand and accept defeat graciously. Running away AND deliberately causing injury to innocent bystanders (when it could be avoided) is downright Criminal.
I turned to my sons and said, ‘He’s not such a good superhero, isn’t he?’
‘Yes,’ my second son agreed, ‘He’s not so great for me.’
I suggested they watch something else, and was silently glad when they said it was ok to change shows.
Fast forward to today.
While walking with my second son in the mall, as one of our bonding moments, we started talking about what makes a hero.
‘Not the costume,’ I began.
‘Daddy,’ he replied, ‘Remember when we were watching that cartoon with the Yellow Bear the other night?’
‘Yes,’ I answered back, silently asking myself what Winnie the Pooh had to do with heroes. I had started to prepare, in my mind, a story of Superman and his Superfriends.
‘The bear gave his honey to Owl, even when the bear was so hungry, and they continued looking for the missing tail, because Eeyore was sad. He is a hero because he thought of others first.’
My jaw dropped again.
I am humbled by the clarity of thought, the uprightness, and the selflessness of this 6 year-old boy. A tear came unbidden in my eye. We hugged in the corridor as shoppers maneuvered around us. How can you not love this boy?
In this talk about heroes, he had the upper hand. He taught his father that most heroes are invisible, just below the radar, unknown, and… everywhere, if you knew where to look.