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How The “Hero’s Journey” Can Teach Your Kids About Resilience
Kids need heroes.
Someone who is going to inspire them and offer a moral compass. Someone who is going to be a powerful role-model. A character who shows that life is an adventure that comes with troubles and hardships, enemies and danger, but always ends well. As long as the hero doesn’t give up, the victory is possible.
As Albert Einstein said:
“You never fail until you stop trying.”
Every good movie, book, or story typically has one myth in the middle – a myth called “The Hero’s Journey” that was introduced by Joseph Campbell in his book “The Hero with A Thousand Faces.”
The author aims to show to us that adventures world-famous heroes are facing aren’t far from what we’re going through in our present life, each day.
Understanding this will support you and your child to be more persistent, patient, and resilient, just like Simba, Hercules, Luke Skywalker, and Batman.
The hero’s journey usually consists of 12 steps which could be divided into 3 major stages:
- The first stage. This stage starts with the hero’s separation from his ordinary life. This separation happens because the hero’s boring life has been challenged by a call or invitation to adventure.
As stepping out of one’s comfort zone is not easy, the hero hesitates at first and decides to refuse the invitation. Soon enough, he regrets that decision and then comes across someone wise and inspiring who becomes his mentor. Once the hero feels supported and guided, he is ready to take the journey.
- The second stage. As the journey unfolds, trials, challenges and difficulties are rising. One is more difficult than the other.
This part carries the most significance for learning that resilience is a necessary part of any successful adventure and life in general. When the hero endures uncomfortable and painful tests and faces the strongest enemies, they often find new ways of solving challenges and adopt many shifts in mindset.
- The third and final stage. Steps in this stage include: reward, the road back home, the final test, and return home.
After many battles and obstacles, the hero finally returns to their former life. From the outside, everything seems to be the same, yet it all feels very different. This is because the hero has changed and transformed through the journey.
Helping your child to understand the hero’s journey within a movie, cartoon, or fairytale is a fantastic way to help them develop a moral compass of integrity, resilience, and compassion.
This kind of storytelling contains some major resilience-forming ideas:
- Helps children understand the importance of individual strengths
- Introduces the benefits of learning from mistakes
- Empowers children to make decisions
- Recognizes the importance of being open to support
- Promotes qualities such as fairness, integrity, persistence, and kindness
- Demonstrates how behaviors affect others
- Stresses the importance of generosity
- Helps kids understand that life’s events aren’t random
- Teaches the importance of discipline in life
Your children will face massive change through their life, just like you did. Through that change they will gain greater insight into their identity and capabilities.
The sooner they find out that life carries trials, tests, and difficulties, the better equipped they will be to face them.
With morally balanced and highly accountable heroes in your child’s immediate surroundings, your child learns to embrace change in life as they embark on their own wonderful journeys and adventures.
Are you ready to become that hero for your child?
Start by identifying your current reality, recognizing the changes you need to make, and then make them in order to become a better version of yourself and a greater role-model of resilience for your child.
Life Lessons: How the Hero’s Journey Can Teach Kids About Perseverance
Every parent would like their child to be successful in life – a winner, an autonomous, resilient, self-confident person, who is more often happy and satisfied than not – someone who conquers everyday challenges and leaves the battle without too much scarring.
Brilliant scientist and Nobel Prize winner, Marie Curie said, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.”
Yes, perseverance is what it takes to deal with life’s difficulties each and every day.
So, how do we do that? How do we teach our children to stay persistent despite difficulties and delays in achieving success?
- Do we set them on our lap and tell them life is hard, but they need to be strong?
- Do we put complicated tasks on their path to see how they’ll deal with them?
The best way to teach perseverance to kids is to read them stories. You just have to spend quality time with your child and be patient. Reading stories about heroes and even introducing them to various cartoons or movies can be more beneficial than you might think.
The “Hero’s Journey” is the standard template used in stories, fairy tales, and movie plots. It explains how the hero handles the situation, deals with the difficulties, solves the critical issues, and as a result, learns something new and significant.
Here are the beneficial, perseverance-related messages your child will get from heroic tales:
- Everyone is good enough to be a hero
Most of the stories start by describing the hero’s life before the adventure begins. Here, a child will learn that heroes are common, regular, everyday people who encounter extraordinary situations.
- Kids don’t have to own superpowers to be persistent in dealing with life. Being who they are is their biggest power.
- New adventures are all around us
An adventure doesn’t have to start dramatically. Kids just have to recognize it and accept it as challenging but not impossible. Everyday life is full of simple and complicated challenges.
- The hero’s journey explains that anything that disrupts your daily life can be perceived as a challenge.
- It is okay to have doubts
You will often see heroes who have second thoughts, personal doubts, and often refuse to face the challenge at first. This teaches children that it’s okay to be scared or to value the comfort one’s hometown more than an exotic adventure. However, the rest of the story sends a message that overcoming a challenge comes with a great reward.
- It’s okay to receive support
Heroes usually have their mentors. This gives children a chance to learn that it’s okay to ask for help and accept support. Perseverance is all about knowing when to give 100% of yourself, when to take a break, and when to share the burden.
- Mentors are here to provide the reality check, show the hero how to do things, and applaud the effort.
- The luck is ever-changing, but persistence pays off
Heroes in tales deal with various tests before they face the final ordeal. They meet their allies and enemies.
This happens in a child’s everyday life too, but we don’t define those events in such a dramatic way. The child learns that even though their abilities are tested continuously, they gain deeper insight after accomplishing each task.
- Every journey comes with a lesson
The outcome of the hero’s journey (be it victory or defeat) doesn’t matter that much. What counts is the fact that, through facing and enduring challenges, the hero transforms and develops. Facing his fears, the hero grows as a person, learns many things, and finds fresh hope.
This helps children learn that being persistent pays off, even when they don’t achieve what they’ve planned. Gaining experience is just as valuable in a child’s life as succeeding.
Planting the seed of perseverance in your child’s mind might seem complicated, but it is rather simple. Just ensure that you are there for them when they fall to validate their emotions and reward their steps forward, no matter how small they are.
Most importantly, be a person who doesn’t give up easily and your child will learn to do the same. You can be their hero!