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Seven Most Important Lessons my Heroes Taught Me

 Lesson #3: Optimism works.

 

            Helen Keller was left blind and deaf by a severe illness when she was nearly two years old. With the help of her teacher and mentor, Anne Sullivan, she used her exceptional mind and strong will to learn how to communicate.

            In 1904, Keller graduated with honors from Radcliffe College. She authored a number of books about her experiences while lecturing and fundraising on behalf of handicapped people. She proved to the world that disability does not mean inability.

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Seven Most Important Lessons my Heroes Taught Me

 Lesson #2: Live your truth guided by your moral compass.

 

            With quick access to the opinions of countless others via the internet and social media, it’s as easy as ever to feel one’s own inner voice drowned out by the screams of others. It is therefore more important than ever for each of us to clearly identify and live our own truths, to be guided by our own moral compass.

 

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Seven Most Important Lessons my Heroes Taught Me

By Jonathan Sprout

             Since 1994, I’ve immersed myself in the lives of 40 of America’s greatest heroes. I’ve travelled the United States interviewing historians and visiting hero sites. I’ve read hundreds of books by and about my heroes and listened to countless teachers, parents, students, and administrators tell me about their favorite heroes.

            A few months ago, I was honored with an opportunity to speak about my work. The act of writing my speech over a three month period enabled me to recognize seven important lessons my heroes have taught me.

            I’ll share them with you over the course of the next several weeks, one lesson at a time. Please respond with your insights!

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            This week, I buried two of my favorite heroes in a quiet country cemetery deep in the heart of central Pennsylvania.

            My parents, John and Carol Sprout, died within six weeks of each other. They’d been married a week shy of 67 years. They were devoted to each other, their family, their church, their schools, and numerous charitable organizations. They were remarkably honest, fair, smart, grounded, and generous people. Dozens of their friends and former students attest to that. Mom was an elementary school teacher and an artist. Dad was a high school math teacher and a mentor to hundreds of students. Their modest, civic-minded, unassuming lives were quiet examples of the power of steadfast love. They were models of good Character.

 

            For 22 years I’ve visited thousands of schools singing my songs about men and women of good Character who made the right choices and became heroes. My intent has been to inspire children and their grown-ups by showing how possible it is to become a real hero. I tell my audiences to imagine living the best versions of their lives, never letting go of lofty dreams. I’ve made it one of my missions to point out the differences between most heroes and celebrities. Unfortunately, many Americans are obsessed with celebrities and gossip “news” programs where the rich, the beautiful, the crass, and the noisy are rewarded with attention.

            Although some of my heroes were passionate politicians, I’ve steered clear of present day politics in my school concerts, in part because of what Mom and Dad would say: “If you don’t have something nice to say about someone, don’t say anything.” But, Mom and Dad also exemplified how important it is to have good Character and to stand up for our beliefs.

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My music and heroes were recently featured on Good Stuff Kids Podcast. Host Michael Mason and I had a lively 30 plus minute conversation about my research, Susan B. Anthony, Dr. Seuss, and others.

Here's the link to the show: http://goodstuffpod.com/episode-64-jonathan-sprout/ 

Enjoy!

Jonathan

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