I Need A Hero

By Jared Kirkwood

Bonnie Tyler taught us a powerful life lesson when she wrote, “I need a hero. I'm holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night. He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta fast, and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight.” It’s inevitable that at some point in our life we will get stuck and need help to move forward. But do we really need a hero?

The protagonist of nearly every story is the hero on a journey. The greater the journey, the greater the obstacles. Those obstacles trip up, slow down, and discourage the hero, but what they don’t need in those moments in another hero to swoop in and save the day. The story isn’t about that. What our hero needs is a guide. Someone who comes in at a moment of desperation to provide support, to encourage, to train, to challenge, and to call the hero to greatness when they feel their weakest.

We have all see parents living vicariously through their kids or a coach reliving the glory days through their team. Its a narrative we are all too familiar. Sadly often times that’s a guide attempting to hijack the story of the real hero.

What if we viewed the students in our life as the real heroes? Yes, you are the hero of your own story, just a few steps further down the road. But the best heroes find themselves as guides in another person’s story at some point. It's part of your transformation and character development. A guide comes in and says, “I know how you feel and I know a way out.” You’ve been there before. Now you can comfort, encourage, help the hero back up and call them to the greatness you know is hidden deep within them. 

Luke needed Yoda. Katniss needed Haymitch. Frodo needed Gandalf. Students need you.

I see students stuck in their story all the time. No clear understanding of their identity, purpose, or even passion in life. Neck deep in busyness that will prevent them from living a life of meaning. How did they get there? Is it possible that for their whole life they’ve grown accustomed to being rescued when the going gets tough? Its as if they are waiting for the hero to save the day, when in actuality they are the real hero of their story. A guide enters the story at just the right moment to help get the hero back on their feet; not to steal their story. 

Perhaps the most heroic act we will do is to surrender our own hero’s journey for the sake of the students in our life. Where are you swooping in like a hero to save someone? What if you changed your role and saw yourself as the guide, there to be with a hero who hasn’t yet realized how much the world needs them?

Jared Kirkwood is Chief Talent Officer of The YouSchool. You can follow him@JaredKirkwood

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