14 Heroes for SUMMER
A week ago or so, I blogged about our family clipboards that have been a solution for me in giving my kids and teens more accountability for their daily schedule. I LOVE clipboards!! But, I've also been pondering other sorts of things that I can do with my children (11, 17 and 23 years-old) who are all at home this summer—they all have very different wants, needs and schedules. I've been thinking for some time about real life heroes—those remarkable people from the past that I feel we could and should know more about. I want to inspire fortitude and resilience in my kids and in me, AND I want to be more readily conversant about great lives in general.
About a year ago, I came across the books, 7 Men and 7 Women on Amazon and I purchased them (most likely with the intent of reading them over the summer months, or at least encouraging my kids to read them). This has not yet happened, so I've decided to turn the whole thing into an incentive based summer challenge—that we will DO TOGETHER! As suggested in their titles, each of these books highlights the lives of 7 great and inspiring people, one per chapter.
My plan is that I will read to my kids at night or perhaps in the late afternoon just before dinner, or maybe in the morning as a devotional of sorts. I might read in the car too—I'm not trying to make this part too rigid or difficult, because I know myself! But I do want my kids to choose the order that we read in, in other words, who we learn about first, then second, and so on. I've created a printable to post by our summer calendar where we can track our progress, and when we are finished reading each chapter (one person's biography) we get to post their photo to the chart and do something to celebrate—something that is I'm a silly way related to the person (ie. going out for French fries after reading about Joan of Arc, or going to a Spokane Indians baseball game after learning more about Jackie Robinson) or something else simple that seems well suited to summer. I'll have to report back on this one, because I'm not really sure about this part yet.
The thing I am sure about is this line from the introduction of 7 Men ...
"You can talk about right and wrong and good and bad all day long, but ultimately people need to see it. Seeing and studying the actual lives of people is simply the best way to communicate ideas about how to behave and how not to behave. We need heroes and role models."
And the final paragraph in the introduction to 7 Women ...
"Perhaps the best thing about biographies is that they enable us to slip the strictures of time and provide a bracing corrective to our tendency to see everything in the dark glass of our own era, with all its blind spots, motes, beams and distortions. We must be honest enough to recognize that each era cannot help having a pinched parochial view of things and of course the largest part of that parochialism is that each era thinks it is not parochial at all. Each era has the fatal hubris to believe that is has once and for all climbed to the top of the mountain and can see everything as it is, from the highest and most objective vantage point possible. But to assert that ours is the only blinker-less view of things is to blither fatuousness. We need to delve into the past to know that we have not progressed to any point of perfection and objectivity, and in examining the lives of these seven women, we are dong just that. We see that our view of many things, not least our view of how women can be great is fatally tinged by our own cultural assumptions. the Bible says we are to humble ourselves, and in reading the stories of great men and women from the past, we inevitably do just that. But in humbling ourselves in that way we ironically gain a far greater objectivity and a far better vantage point from which to see things."
I found this video clip on YouTube if you want to hear the author speak a little about the 7 Men book.
Let me know if you have questions; if you decide to do this or something similar and by all means, Happy Summer!