01 Oct / The Power of Super Heroes!
If you are like me, you have become exhausted and somewhat numb to the constant barrage of bad news, political nastiness, intolerance, and moral decay reported daily through news outlets. We can’t seem to get away from it: whether we turn on the TV, look at our phone or log into our computers, there is always a new and depressing headline that catches our attention and brings us down.
In a 2017 survey by the American Psychological Association, 66% of Americans say the future of our nation is a significant source of stress and 57% say that they are stressed by the current political climate. I can relate! And I would bet those numbers are higher now than they were a year ago.
I guess it’s no wonder that superhero movies are all the rage right now. “…in troubled times, people enjoy escapism, and perhaps secretly wish that there were superheroes around to hose down all of the horrors of the world,” says Erin Free.
At turner4D, we have been working on a social media project, and I have noticed that posts on everyday heroes are the blockbusters of social media these days. One that I found particularly interesting was a story about a teen who puts his coat over an elderly woman to shield her from the rain. A police officer snapped a picture of Tyrea “in the act of caring” and posted it to his Facebook page. The post took off with 1450 likes, shares and comments! A search on Google for the story yields 469,000 results! It got so much attention that the police officer who posted it decided he needed to find the teen again and take him out to lunch, his treat. That follow up story went wild in the news and social media as well!
So, why did such a story explode in the media? Does such a simple act really cause our small hearts to grow three sizes, like the Grinch who Stole Christmas?! According to Dr. Scott Allison, historically, “Hero stories calmed people’s fears, buoyed their spirits, nourished their hopes, and fostered important values of strength and resilience.” He continues, “We are drawn to good hero stories because they comfort us and heal us.”
Other regular people hero stories have also set the internet on fire. Take, for instance, Champale Anderson, a mom of six who gives out more than 100 lunches everyday to kids in her neighborhood. Search for her story and you will get over 12 million results! Her daily good dead landed her on Good Morning America!
Another hero is seven-year-old Jermaine Bell, who “kissed his dreams of exploring Walt Disney World goodbye after saving for about a year to visit the theme park.” Why? Because he decided to use the $500 he had saved up to provide Hurricane Dorian evacuees in South Carolina with food and water. Disney found out and, you guessed it, that little boy is off to Disney! And his act of kindness was reporter in People Magazine, Good Morning America, USA Today… the list goes on! Google it, you will find 377,000 results!
Greta Thunberg is my favorite hero these days for her courage and conviction to speak truth to power. The climate activist’s speech at the UN became the “speech heard ‘round the world.” If only members of Congress had the “superpower” Greta has to focus on the issue, the science, and not let fear, pettiness, and name calling get in the way of her mission. Google Greta and you will get 283 million results.
The moral here is that heroes are important to our story. Champale shows us how important the school lunch program, SNAP and other programs are to ensure our children get the food they need to be happy and healthy every day. Jermaine shows us the importance of funding for communities in crisis. And Tyrea shows us that random acts of kindness really do matter. So many of us work on issues that really impact people’s lives, communities and our nation. If we can find the heroes out there, and there are plenty, and share their stories, we will be able to break through the grinding negative press and make things better in our world.