Who were your heroes when you were little? In all honesty, I think my hero when I was really young was my primary school teacher, Mrs Cowan. I thought she was absolutely wonderful (and frankly still do). Mrs Cowan taught me for the majority of my primary school years – I only had two other teachers (I went to a super small primary school until the end of Year 5). From a really young age, all I wanted to do was teach and I’m quite sure that’s down to Mrs Cowan and the impact she had on me.
Do your children have heroes?
If you asked my children now who their heroes are or who they want to be like when they grew up, I’m honestly not sure what their answers would be. For a long time Ben wanted to be a policeman or a fireman, he was keen to be in the emergency services and help people. As he has grown up his ambitions have changed and now, thanks to a strong love of Maths and Science, he wants to be an inventor. Chloe wants to be an author and Amy a farmer (though she does add in random things like “singer” in every now and again).
At a recent LEGO City Hero Academy event, Sam Wass (from Secret Life of Four / Five Year Olds) spoke passionately to us about heroism and children’s understanding of this. For so many children, the people they look up to, idolise, want to be like, are popstars, youtubers, influencers . . . I remember teaching Year 6 a few years ago and a couple of the girls in my class were just obsessed with Zoella. Being a youtuber is now seen as a viable career option and something many of our children and young people aspire too. The more traditional ambitions of being a fire fighter or police officer are falling by the wayside.
What are heroic characteristics?
At the event, we also heard from real life hero Greg Rutherford who talked to us about his own heroes and the characteristics which they held and consequently inspired in himself. Characteristics of strength, determination, willpower – characteristics which allowed him to constantly challenge himself and achieve his ambition of being an Olympic gold medallist.
He talked about how he used to imagine what it would feel like to compete in big competitions, to jump the biggest distances, to win. And how through imagining those scenarios, he was better able to deal with them when it happened and follow his ambition through to its ultimate conclusion.
Why is imaginary play important?
Imaginary play is so important for our children, probably more important than you could ever imagine (pun intended!). It allows them to test out how they feel about certain situations, to try out different roles, to try out being a different person. Greg Rutherford’s experience demonstrates this beautifully.
How can LEGO City help your child to develop heroic qualitites?
LEGO City Hero Academy is all about the more traditional heroes – the fire fighters, the police officers, the ambulance drivers. The heroes we need in our every day lives. In playing with LEGO City, children are able to play out scenes and scenarios which they will hopefully never come across in real life, but which will open up conversations about what to do if you ever were faced with a burning building / car crash / crime scene – and, as Greg Rutherford explained, thinking those situations through and planning for them means then if you are ever in that situation, you’re just that bit more prepared for it and able to deal with it – good or bad.
How do you encourage heroic characteristics in your children? Do they have heroes to look up to?
*We were invited down to London to attend the LEGO City Hero Academy event during the holidays – I have not been compensated for my time in writing this post*