Only the weak need … heroes … and heroes need… those around them to remain weak. -Melanie Benjamin, The Aviator’s Wife
What a line to get from your mother on her death bed, even if it was from a work of fiction.
I have been thinking about this quote since I finished the novel and I must say that I am inclined to agree. However, I find it very odd that we are constantly asking children who their heroes are. Are we then, implying, that all children are weak? I mean, in some respects of course they are. But how can we expect to raise strong, confident children, if we believe that they are weak on the inside? Children are very perceptive, and they notice when we don’t believe in them. And unlike adults who are conditioned to fight, children are conditioned to give up. Children are allowed to quit when they don’t enjoy something. Children are allowed to try 10 instruments before they find the right one. Adults do not have this luxury.
I am not one to say that I have heroes or idols. I do have mentors and people whom “I want to be when I grow up.” I think this is different. There are a lot of men and women that I admire for their qualities and I want to harness those qualities in myself, become a better person in that regard, and wow the world. I don’t think that’s having a hero. I think that is having a goal.
I’ve been working on this idea of negative reinforcement for not achieving your goals. The idea that you have to determine what your punishment will be for not sticking to a commitment, you have to make it public, and you have to follow through. The thing is, this punishment should be something you *really* do not want to do. Something you aren’t just putting off until later, but something you would never ever want to do. So far, it’s working for me. I find myself achieving more now, and I find myself wanting to add more things to my list (within reason) to work towards as well. I personally think this is really cool and fun, having more goals, particularly those that make me my own hero, is really awesome.
Here’s a little aside from the quote I chose, heroes need the weak to stay weak is more true than only the weak need heroes. Do not let somebody make you, or keep you, weak. Do not settle for being weak. Change people’s minds if they think that you are weak. Because if you’re reading this, you are not weak. You have courage, that much is sure. So do not let anybody demean you. Set your goals. Set your rewards and your punishments. Tell your family and friends. Then work.