If you’ve read a great story, watched a good movie or seen just about any cartoon worth watching, you’ve seen the hero have a dip. Simba ran away from his responsibility. Rey pulled in on herself. Katniss got really, really angry.
This dip doesn’t just happen in stories. When you read the works and letters of Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and many more, you find doubt and fear and despair at times.
You can go back as far as you want in the stories of our past: Gilgamesh, Odysseus, Moses, and more all showed a negative attitude more than once.
How did they get through these dips? Did they just grin and bear it, believe it was really happening? No. They dealt with it and moved on. And, they normally had some help.
Choose Your Attitude
Heroes have a hard path in front of them. It’s full of challenges, bumps, bruises, and more. While some are reluctant at first, heroes ultimately lean into the challenge ahead in order to accomplish their mission, their purpose.
In order to take the first steps, they first choose how they’ll react to these challenges. Will they quake and run? Maybe. But, ultimately, the make a stand and put all they have learned into action. They know difficult moments are coming their way and decide to take them on anyway.
You can’t do so without choosing your attitude, choosing how you are going to respond. Does this guarantee success? Heck no. But that is not the point. It makes me think of something Dr. Viktor Frankl said:
Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.
Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say! – success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it.
Sometimes, though, it’s hard to keep your ‘head up’ when battling against constant opposition. In those moments, you need a friend… and a good one at that.
Choose Your Friends
St. Francis of Assisi has been quoted saying:
All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.
This is certainly true. And sometimes… sometimes that flame gutters and flickers. Sometimes that flame needs a little care and support. Two flames can back one another so that when one falters, the other is ready to keep the light shining. All of the heroes from antiquity to the present had someone to support them.
When young Clark Kent was first learning about his powers, he was overwhelmed. All of the sounds and sights of his classroom were bearing down on his super vision and hearing, scaring him badly. His mother arrived and told him to listen only to her voice, to think of her as an island and to swim towards it. Superman was on his way to becoming super.
When Bruce Wayne thought he’d failed completely, Arthur, his trusted mentor and caregiver asked, ‘Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Batman got up and saved the day.
Campers, you get to choose your friends. Who they are and how they support you will be huge in your life, just like the heroes mentioned above.
And your choices do not end there. You get to choose what you listen to on the radio, read in books, pay attention to online. All of these messages and ideas will have an effect on you.
If you are filling your head and your heart with messages of care and support and kindness, that’s what you’ll most likely shine back into the world around you. If it’s doom and gloom and divisiveness, that’ll be something you perpetuate, too.
When you are challenged, like any hero, you’ll have some down moments. You’ll get some support from those and that which you give your trust and attention.
Choose wisely. Have a great weekend!