NO MORE HEROES
By Kyle Johnson | April 2022
No more heroes.
And while we’re at it, origin stories suck.
Every hero comes out of tragedy. Almost every hero loses everything.
I love hero movies, but the idolization of them is exhausting. I can never measure up.
Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, is exhausting. Some people just seem to have it all. Super smart, handsome, and rich as he carries an ego-infused smart-ass persona everywhere he goes. Exhausting.
Outside of superheroes, there are others we heroize. So, don’t get me started on Justin Beiber because if he can’t fit in at a party there’s no hope for me. This is precisely what the word “hero” subconsciously does. It makes us feel inadequate. Leaving those of us who don’t wear a cape or come from the planet Krypton lost in space.
There is something about an underdog story, though, right?
-When Rudy Ruettiger finally gets in the game.
-When Rocky Balboa knocks out Ivan Drago in the 15th round.
-When Katherine Johnson’s calculations made crewed spaceflights possible (Hidden Figures). -When Gordon Bombay coached the Mighty Ducks to the championship game to defeat the rival Hawks with Charlie Conway’s redemptive triple deke.
-The evolution of Michael Scott as the office manager of the mid-sized paper company Dunder Mifflin.
-And the real-life example of Ketanji Brown Jackson becoming the first black woman to sit on the Supreme Court.
There’s also something about a villain who has lost their way and begins to change for the better. In the recent Disney+ Marvel series Loki, the creators flipped the script on the villain by helping us understand him. Loki dives into his soul to heal his wounded inner child, he then flips his own script and begins to see the world as it is and starts to live into his hero.
Understanding is key. Seeing is key to moving towards compassion.
These underdog and villain transformation stories connect us to our shared humanity because what’s most personal is most universal. Heartbreak, joy, we all experience this.
And just like the Marvel Universe, our stories are intertwined. The idea that there is more World than this World resonates with this generation because we now know this could be a reality. Or maybe it resonates because this World feels so messed up that it’s easier to escape from reality through another hero’s journey.
As the virtual curriculum comes out of the clouds of wonder and solidifies, we are saying ”No More Heroes,” and inviting students to imagine what it would look like to have a planetary shift, an alternate dimension right here, right now without escaping to the metaverse.
A dimension where racism was no more. Climate justice wasn’t a thing because everyone cared for the earth as the earth cares for us.
A world of no walls. No food insecurity because we shared.
No homelessness because everyone had a safe place to rest their head at a mental health care facility or on a neighbor’s couch while they got their feet back from under them.
A world where no human was trafficked.
And there was no traffic because we could fly with solar-powered jet packs.
Where the tree mattered as much as me.
The cloud was celebrated for life it brings.
And the sun was reflected back to other worlds that needed light.
What if we didn’t need a superhero to accomplish this. What if we needed you?
Let’s, let the World’s standard of average be the new hero! Let’s, let kindness be the new hero!
Let’s, let understanding someone’s suffering be the new hero. Let’s, let the Gardner be the new hero.
The Beekeeper, the department store greeter, the kid next door who decides to rally a group together to build a neighborhood food pantry be the new hero.
And maybe we can realize that even our “villains” are often in disguise – or even created by the fact that they feel they can’t be a hero.
The truth is we don’t need another hero because we all act heroically when we live into our compassion and kindness, big or small.
So for me, Superman is not a hero; he was given everything. I’m more of a Batman fan. Actually, more of an Alfred fan, Mary Jane Watson fan, Uncle Ben and Aunt May Parker fan. A Foggy Nelson fan! Let’s give it up for Foggy Nelson!
The supporting actors in the story of life are just as heroic as those who get or take all the credit. One hero can do a lot, but what if 500 million did a little? Did a lot?
Re-wiring habits of compassion and kindness deep into our neural pathways can literally change the World. We then can start to see ourselves, others, and the World by activating our ancient roots, love.
Generation Alive encourages students to be aware. To look for opportunities to live into their compassion. Maybe it’s smiling at a kid in the lunchroom who is sitting by themself or taking it a step further and sitting next to them. Maybe it’s opening the door for a stranger or going for a walk in nature. If you are reflecting beauty, you are shifting the tectonic plates towards compassion, and this coherence of kindness could literally create a new dimension right here, right now.
There will still be villains, internal and external, but with awareness and clarity of sight, we can see when selfish corporations take advantage of people and call it out. We can advocate when oppressive systems attack marginalized groups and perpetuate violence. Kindness and compassion are the long game, the short game, and everything in-between.
As the number of kindness carriers rise villains will know without a shadow of a doubt that love wins because kindness is the most subversive action to offer villains. What if, villains are just people oppressed by the demands of heroes, and they have no way to express it. And what if, a little kindness can change the trajectory of life? We know this is possible because we have all experienced kindness and know the feeling of being seen. Some more than others, but what if we could all see?
That’s why for me … NO MORE HEROES!
Awaken the hero within. The hero of kindness, justice, mercy, diversity, equity, inclusion, and ride the tidal wave of love sweeping over this World. We save the planet when we SEE! See ourselves, others, and the extraordinary World we get to build together with sympathetic eyes and action (compassion). Because this generation doesn’t care about the word hero unless it’s attached to helping save the planet they will inherit.
“No More Heroes” means you don’t have to be bit by a radioactive spider to change the World. You have to awaken the hero within.
*This is a taste of some of the themes we will be exploring in our virtual curriculum.