Do your children admire Hollywood celebrities, superheroes, models or musicians? Do they cover their bedroom walls with pictures and posters of these stars-of-the-moment? Rabbi Shmuley says it's fine to look up to modern-day stars and even the heroes of ancient lore, but a child's true heroes should be her parents or great historical personalities.
How to Get Your Children to Admire True Heroes:
- Buy your children books about deserving heroes. "George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Bobby Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [are all] people who were heroes because they conferred dignity on those who had none," Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Don't encourage Hollywood heroes. "Explain to your kids that Hollywood heroes are cheap imitations of the real thing," he says.
- Get your children and grandparents to connect. "By hearing stories of [their grandparents'] hardships, they'll understand that heroic action is not something that ends up in magazines, but involves making sacrifices on behalf of those you love," Rabbi Shmuley says.
- Be a hero to your children. Teach them sports, inspire them with stories from your life and prioritize them, Rabbi Shmuley says. "Show them you are a great man or woman because you know what's truly important," he says. "Not money, but family. Not fame, but humility. Not ego, but sacrifice."
"The real hero is not he who is garbed in glory and decked in splendor, but he who is wrapped in good deeds and righteous action. It is not he who subdues his enemy in combat, but he who forgives and retreats from conflict with his fellow man; not he who lives a life of adventure, but he who lives a life of service."