Monday, 18 January 2016

Holding out for a hero

        How having a hero can encourage your child

You are never to old to have a hero! I am absolutely in awe of Major Tim Peake at the moment,bwatching him live so many children's dreams of walking in space and following him on social media has really caught my imagination....... At the tender age of almost 35!!

If he is inspiring me, you can only imagine how he is inspiring hundreds of children across the UK. A British astronaut in space!
Many of us grew up with childhood heroes, whether they be famous pop stars, sports people, scientists, authors or even family members. These heroes and role models help children as they begin to make sense of who they are and their place in the world as they begin to find their own identity. Having someone to look up to (quite literally in Tim Peakes' case!) Can help them find guidance and meaning within their own lives.

At first, these heroes can appear in a child's play as they act out being a super hero, princess, or television character, mostly as they have traits which can stretch the imagination. I mean, who wouldn't want super powers or to marry a prince??!
As children get older, they start to see the possibilities of actually becoming like their role models as they chose adults who they connect with to aspire to. If they work hard and have self belief, they can be an astronaut, an architect, a musician or yes, even a popstar!

I do not recall any specific famous role models growing up, although I was often found trying to copy the ice skating moves of Torvill and Dean on my kitchen floor. I do however, know how much I looked into my parents as my heroes. Working long hours to put food on the table, teaching my sister and I the ways of the world and showing me how relationships can stand the testbof time. I am very lucky to have them as my heroes and they still are to this day.

As a parent, it is our job to nurture these interests in heroes (although some we may not approve of!) and help them to explore their strengths and weaknesses. I have been discussing with my eldest daughter how I have been watching Tim Peake and how I think his mission in space is amazing, leading to lots of questions and looking at photographs of his work on social media. He may not be her hero (we are still a big princess fan, although she wants to work with animals!) But I feel it is important to share with our children who inspires us.

So ask your child who their hero is. You may be surprised. Share your with them and help to build the belief that they can be whatever they want to be!!

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