How to Become a Hero c.j. hayden
   How to Become a Hero
   You Are the Champion the World Is Waiting For

   C.J. Hayden, MCC

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Help kids learn about the Hero's Journey 

If you have discovered the benefits to your life and career of exploring your heroic side, here's a chance to share that experience with some kids. Donors Choose recently contacted me and asked if I'd be willing to post a challenge to my blog readers. This wonderful organization provides a convenient channel for donors to contribute directly to low-cost classroom projects at underfunded public schools.

Currently, there are two teachers in their network seeking funding to teach the Hero's Journey in their classrooms. A 9th grade English teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina wants to teach the Hero's Journey to students using Lord of the Rings. The cost of 30 copies of Fellowship of the Ring is $309, and this teacher needs another $86 to make the purchase. Another 9th grade English teacher in Sonoma, California has been teaching the Hero's Journey for nine years, using Homer's Odyssey. This teacher has discovered a much more accessible new translation of the Odyssey that students are excited about reading, and needs $682 to buy 46 copies of it.

Please consider making a contribution to one of these valuable projects, and help kids learn to make heroic choices early in life. Read more about the projects and view my challenge here.

And if you write your own blog, consider posting a challenge to your readers related to the topic of your blog by visiting Bloggers Choose.

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Heroes don't need to be famous 

In David Bornstein's book How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, he discusses what makes a social entrepreneur successful. Along with qualities such as the willingness to self-correct, share credit, break free of established structures, and cross disciplinary boundaries, he mentions their "willingness to work quietly." It seems that many of the people most successful in exerting broad influence on how societies fix their problems often spend many years steadily advancing their ideas in small groups or one on one, working in relative obscurity.

Bornstein quotes Jean Monnet, the architect of European unification. In Monnet's Memoirs, he declares that people of ambition fall into two groups: those who want to "do something" and those who want to "be someone." Monnet elaborates: "The main concern of many very remarkable people is to cut a figure and play a role. They are useful to society... But, in general, it is the other kind of people who get things moving -- those who spend their time looking for places and opportunities to influence the course of events. The places are not always the most obvious ones, nor do the opportunities occur when many people expect them. Anyone who wants to find them has to forsake the limelight."

I think this is one of the reasons many who are truly heroes would never apply that label to themselves. Our image of the hero is often confused by picturing only those who achieve celebrity status. We consider Martin Luther King a hero not just because of the work he did, but because he spoke to huge crowds and appeared often in the media. But the March on Washington where King gave his "I Have a Dream" speech to a quarter of a million people was organized by a man you've probably never heard of: Bayard Rustin.

It was Rustin who set the program for that day, coordinated media outreach, arranged for transportation, and took elaborate measures to make sure there would be no violence. Rustin assigned responsible captains to each of the 1500 buses and 21 trains that brought demonstrators to the march, created a detachment of trained civilian marshals to serve as nonviolent peacekeepers, and provided for water, cheap food, toilet facilities, and first aid. Without Rustin, King might never have made his speech, or worse, it might never have been reported if violence had broken out at the march. (You can read this story in Jervis Anderson's book Bayard Rustin: Troubles I've Seen.)

Harry Truman once said "It's amazing what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit." This simple philosophy is the mark of the true hero, who may often be someone whose name you will never know.

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