• Free to Be Mindful

Be Your Own Hero

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I asked my six-year-old son this question just recently. After thinking for a few moments, he told me he wanted to be famous for telling the weather, and then he would go on Wendy and talk to her.

I grew up on Oprah. He’s growing up on Wendy Williams. Go figure!

Every parent wishes the best and a world of success for their children. While following your passion to a career of your choice is important, being a good person and “being your own hero” is key.

In the story Be Your Own Hero - written by Lisa King and filled with a diverse cast of characters and modern day references - students were asked to decide who they were going to dress up as to represent their favorite hero. The main character thinks of heroes in time she would like to emulate. Each day the teacher gave the class quotes representing various heroes. The quotes included the following:

  • “Heroes believe in themselves even when others don’t.”

  • “Heroes do the right thing, even when it’s tough.”

  • “Heroes understand that failure leads to success.”

  • “Inside everyone of you is a hero waiting to happen.”

  • “Not all heroes are famous. Heroes can be ordinary people who have discovered ways to make the world a better place.”

By the end of the book the main character recognizes her heroes include her mom, dad and grandmother, Oprah, Jane Goodall, Taylor Swift, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her teacher, and herself. The main character states she chose those heroes because they are helping her grow into the person who she’s supposed to be.

When we ask kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I hope we also help them to identify responses such as:

  • I want to believe in myself.

  • I want to do the right thing, even when it’s tough.

  • I want to have a growth mindset and understand that failure leads to success.

  • I want to be a hero for myself and others.

  • I want to make the world a better place.

As we raise our kids - in our households and classrooms - how are WE fostering our kids to grow into the amazing little humans [and heroes] they are meant to be? May we ask and answer that question each day as we LEARN, GROW and INSPIRE our little humans to do the same.

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Vanessa De Jesus Guzman is an Educator and Licensed Professional Counselor with nearly two decades of experience in working with children and families. She is the CEO of Free to Be Mindful - located in Ridgefield, NJ - which provides counseling and mindfulness education for kids, parents and educators.

Vanessa has been featured on the Today Show and is passionate about helping others Learn, Grow & Inspire… all with mindfulness in mind.