How many of us have dreamed of being a hero? Whether that’s standing with the likes of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli in battle or flying an X-Wing into the trenches of the Death Star and wielding a light saber or challenging tornado-flung sharks with a chainsaw, a little daydreaming is what we geeks are good at. What happens if we made the dreams a reality?
Executive Producers from The Lord of the Rings and The Amazing Race teamed together to do just that in ABC’s The Quest, which aired this summer. Twelve contestants joined together in a remarkable reality competition set in a completely immersive fantasy world, called Everealm. They competed for the goal to become The One True Hero and wield the Sunspear to defeat a dark lord. The story was compelling, the lessons learned heart warming and inspiring, and the interaction on social media sites by contestants (paladins), cast, crew, and producers helped foster a cult following in the fan base, The Quest Army.
The winner, Lina Carollo, along with the executive producers of The Quest, formed Project Hero. It’s a chance for anyone and everyone to do something heroic. No matter the size, grandeur or lack thereof, anyone can do something kind and caring for others–and the launch date for Project Hero is tomorrow.
Using hashtags #BeAHero and #ContinueTheQuest, anyone can chime in and share how they are and what they’ve done to be a hero on Twitter or Facebook. Granted, this is part of an excellent plan to promote a show and earn a season two, but the depth of what they’ve formulated goes well beyond television. Rarely can a show inspire such change and dramatic hope in our culture, but The Quest has done so. We may not all get to go on an adventure to stop a dark lord, but we can have an opportunity to help others. In fact, we do. Every day. It’s a paradigm shift in the right direction that are chaotic world, full of racism, hate, violence, poverty, hunger, slavery, fear, and great need could desperately use.
It’s up to each one of us to be a hero.
So what are some people planning? Some are going the larger, more epic route by supporting organizations like Invisible Children, The Trevor Project, or organizing blood drives in their community. I personally had originally planned to interview people from those organizations, as well as The Exodus Road and Joni and Friends. More on that later. Others planned help for those struggling with cancer or even raising money for Boy Scouts they know. Others are planning Love Letters–planting love letters at odd locations in their communities with positive and encouraging messages for whomever may find them.
Many people have started altering health habits, changing what they eat and how they work out. I started doing that. As part of my research for my books, I’ve read about sword fighting with a long sword, saber, and rapier, and run through moves with others. Just a few months ago, I decided to pick it back up again, using my cane as a sword to run through various stances. Then I got bold and practiced with my new saber. A grand move, but applied with a variety of other things (like car trips and a weekend Con), the result was disastrous, landing me back in a week and a half of seizure-like spasms. This also delayed and right now prevented my interview ideas.
Not to be deterred, I’ve joined the ranks of those who are working on a smaller scale to be heroic. I’ve learned that there’s a lot of people out there dealing with a variety of debilitating illnesses that really value my voice and face and my words. They need the message of hope that no matter how bad it can get, there’s a reason to keep going and move on and forward. Also, I’m a hero to my family. I’m a hero to my daughter. I’ve been a hero to the students I used to teach. Many people are looking at altering how we interact with others. How can we put a smile on someone’s face? In what ways can we make the grocery clerk feel better or the librarian’s job a little easier? How can we bless the overworked waiter or waitress? Surprise the person waiting behind us at the coffee shop with a free drink?
For many of us, we can’t do something big. It’s not that we haven’t tried. It’s just those things aren’t working out right now. That’s okay. The point is to not get discouraged, remember that sometimes the most beautiful and wondrous of things start small. Like The Quest started as a dream of a few people. It became a reality of those who joined the dream, and now it’s become something more. It’s become an opportunity to change the world.
Hope you will join us as Project Hero launches tomorrow and continues for as long as good is needed in our world–which is forever. There’s no need to actually be a Quest fan, though I think you’ll like it. Share with us what you’re doing at #BeAHero and #ContinueTheQuest on Twitter or on Facebook.
We are heroes.