I hope everyone had a blessed and wonderful Christmas and that the New Year is off to a good start. Immediately after my holiday travel was completed, I began teaching a J-term undergraduate honors seminar (hence the long time between posts). The course I’m teaching is called Heroes and Heroism.
Heroism is something we often view as beyond us. We think of those to whom we ascribe the label “hero” as different from ordinary people. The goal of my seminar is to help students articulate what heroism is, to be inspired by the acts of a variety of people on whom that label has been placed, and to help them (in the words of Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo) see heroism as “something that seems in the range of possibilities for every person, perhaps inspiring more of us to answer that call.” In the course we examine the lives of some figures of the present and recent past who have been given the label hero. Thus far we’ve had three classes, and some great discussions!
You might find it worthwhile to take a few minutes to consider how you respond to the questions I asked the students to consider on the first day of class:
Name three figures you considered heroes pre-adolescence (before 14 or 15) and why?
Name three figures you now consider to be heroes (living or dead)? What is it about them that inspires you
How do you define a hero and why does heroism matter?
Feel free to comment with your thoughts.