My hero, Horton the elephant

When we think of our first role models, besides parents or those in our daily lives, we normally think of superheroes with special powers far beyond our reach. For most of us, there were more significant heroes before we got caught up with cool cartoon ones. I’m talking about those creatures we dragged around in the form of stuffed toys, who slept by our sides every night, reminding us of our favorite story.

Books like The Lorax and Horton Hears a Who introduced us to those who stood for something greater than themselves. They held large concepts, but yet we understood their message and their hearts, so much that we wanted them with us all of the time.

I wonder how much creatures like The Lorax and Horton influence us as we get older. Did The Lorax help teach me to care about the environment? Did Horton show me that “a person’s a person, no matter how small” and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves?

Recently, my best friend and I took her four-year-old to see the movie The Lorax. When the movie was over, her little boy started to act out. His mom kept asking him what was wrong. After a few minutes of stomping around and not being able to look at us, the little guy went from anger to sadness. He cried but managed to get out words that brought us all to tears: “But the trees…”

Feeling responsible for every tree that has ever been cut down in the history of the world (how do they do that?) we stood silent, not knowing what to tell him. My friend rushed out to get the book so she could read over and over again about how the trees came back and he could touch bright-colored pictures of those precious truffula trees. She also got him a stuffed toy Lorax which has not left his side. Her son wants to plant a tree so they won’t all disappear. I love this kid (and will of course tell this story to his future prom date before allowing them out of the house :)).

My question is this: Do our first heroes help make us who we are, or do we migrate to those that mimic what we already believe? I tend to think it is both. Maybe this is a question only a four-year-old can answer.

Written on April 23rd, 2012 , Uncategorized Tags: ,
Debbie Emory

Writing humorous fiction infused with death, dysfunction, and dads.