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Salem Alpacas

A Real Hero

By Shelley Norman

“Time for show and tell,” I called out across the room. “Everyone grab your “hero” item and come join the circle.” Giving a theme to our weekly show and tell day, had been something I’d read about on a daycare teaching tools website and seemed to be a hit with my little group. I watched as they scurried to their backpacks or cubbies to find their special treasure they’d brought to share with their friends.

Once we were finally all sitting criss-cross applesauce on the big carpet in the middle of the room I clapped my hands to get their attention. “Who can tell everyone what a hero is?” I asked. “It’s someone with big muscles!” a little boy to my right shouted out. “Just like The Hulk.” He held up a green action figure for everyone to see. “Hulk goes around and smashes all the bad guys so they can’t be bad anymore. And he doesn’t get in trouble for breaking things which is really great, because I always get in trouble for breaking things.” “A hero doesn’t have to have big, ugly muscles,” said the girl next to him sticking her action figure in front of the boy’s face. “See Wonder Woman is beautiful and smart and uses her lasso of truth to stop bad guys.” “Well Hulk is smart too, when he’s not the Hulk he’s a doctor,” the boy said defensively hugging his figure to himself. “Batman is better than either Wonder Woman or Hulk,” another boy said waving around his toy. “He’s really rich and invents all kinds of gadgets to catch bad guys with. And he’s smart, has muscles and drives a really cool car.” “The batmobile is really cool,” the first boy agreed nodding. “Well I think you are all wrong,” a blond pigtailed girl stated. “The best superhero is Pink Girl!” She held up a Barbie doll wearing a hot pink ballgown with what appeared to be a pink sock tied by a ribbon around it’s throat. “There is no such thing as Pink Girl!” Batman boy exclaimed. “You made her up,” Wonder Woman girl added. “Pink Girl is just as real as any of your super heroes,” pigtail girl stuck her tongue out at the others.

Needing to stop this before the super heroes started a battle in the middle of circle time I clapped my hands again, “I think all of your heroes are wonderful.” Then turning to the little boy sitting by my side I reached out a hand to gently squeeze his shoulder. “You’re being awfully quiet today, why don’t you show us what you brought for show and tell?” He shrugged looking down at the piece of paper he held facedown in his lap, “I don’t think I brought the right kind of hero,” he whispered. “There are all kinds of different heroes,” I said gently. He shrugged again and then turned the paper over revealing a photograph. Holding it up he showed the group. “This is my Uncle Mike. He’s a soldier in the army.” Hulk boy leaned close looking at the photo, “What’s that guy doing to him in the picture?” “He’s pinning a medal on Uncle Mike’s uniform. He got it for helping his friend who was hurt when they were attacked by the bad guys in Afghanistan.” “Was he scared?” asked pigtail girl. “Probably,” the boy holding the photograph said. “But Mom says Uncle Mike is the bravest guy she knows.” “You’re so lucky!” said Batman boy. “You’re related to a real hero.” “Um…I guess,” said photo boy perking up a bit. “Uncle Mike is really strong and smart and brave. He goes to all kinds of dangerous places because he wants to help people who are in trouble, even though it means he could get hurt or even killed. And he gets to drive tanks around.” “Wow!” all the kids said together. As I dismissed the kids from circle time I watched as they all gathered around to get another look at the photo of their new real life hero..