By Laura Seymour
Snow days mean reading days! Since Amazon didn’t deliver, I went to the bookshelf to find a favorite. If you don’t have this book in your home, you need it: “Heroes for My Son” by Brad Meltzer is a wonderful book to share with your whole family. Meltzer wanted to give his son important advice — something we all want. But what can we say? The best way to give advice to children is to give them role models. As much as we would like to be inspiring, sometimes the best idea is to share inspiring stories — which Meltzer has done wonderfully!
Each hero has two short pages with a wonderful picture, a story and a quote. Each provides a family discussion — 52 heroes for a year of advice. Among my favorites are the creators of Superman, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel. The words on their page: “They weren’t good-looking. They weren’t popular. And they were so poor that they used to draw on the back of butcher’s paper. But they were two best friends. With one dream. At the brink of World War II, in the midst of the Great Depression, two kids from Cleveland didn’t just give us the world’s first superhero. They gave us something to believe in.” I love Superman — kids love superheroes! There is something special about having superpowers that we all love. However, the story of these two guys is really the super story — you can do amazing things if you have a dream. That is an important piece of advice to give to all of our children.
The other 51 heroes include many names that are familiar to all, with a few unknowns and surprises (I won’t spoil it for you!). The last two are Meltzer’s mom and grandfather. When I interview camp staff, I ask about role models. I am always happy to hear Mom or Dad; yet, I’d love to hear a list, even a short list. So think about it, talk about it and share heroes from Meltzer and others! Tell me — who is your hero?
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.