I saw The Tale of Despereaux yesterday after many cancellations. I was immediately drawn to the movie by its trailers filled with quotes on heroism and the scenes of a non-conformist mouse wanting to be a hero. I’ve never read the book, but am planning on buying it now for our forthcoming child. The movie itself was flawed in its execution I think, but the messages are loud and clear.
The first lesson was one explained to me by Phil Zimbardo. He said we need to teach kids what it feels like to be strange, weird, and different because that is the life of a hero.
The second is one that has driven the Hero Workshop from its inception. Heroes beget more heroes. When we read and talk about heroes, it simply produces more heroes. Who hasn’t dreamt of performing heroic actions after reading a great story?
It’s Good To Be Strange
“Reader, you must know that an interesting fate awaits almost everyone, mouse or man, who does not conform.”
When you act heroically, you’re going to stand out. Despereaux’s ears were not the only thing that made people notice him. His courage, thoughts of a better world, and kindness made him stand out. They also made him the object of disdain and mockery. Heroes are ordinary people who do extraordinary things, so there will always be a majority to think the hero’s behaviour is wrong, dangerous, or weird. Heroes don’t cower and they don’t subscribe to the ideas of the masses just because those ideas are popular.
Heroes Get Inspired By Other Heroes
Are you a rat?
Are you a mouse?
I am a gentleman.
Despereaux reads a book about a brave, honourable, and just knight which inspires him to be the same. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi were inspired by reading the story of Mahatma Gandhi. Barack Obama has been inspired by reading the stories of Abraham Lincoln. Whose stories are you reading?