METAPHOR: Is Popular Media Promoting an Orphaned Hero Metaphor In Lieu of … the Grandparent Metaphor? (A Leadership Exercise)

by Bob Whitesel, D.Min., Ph.D., 10/25/15.

To help pastors hone their teaching/preaching skills I use the following “preaching exercise.”

Margaret Mead discovered that grandparents better translate spiritual values down to grandkids that parents do (A House Divided, 2001, p. 51). And, most church leaders recognize the important influence that grandparents have upon the spiritual values of grandchildren.

Is the popular media creating a new and incomplete metaphor: the orphaned (super) hero?

Here is a question about “orphaned heroes,” spurred by a previous student. The student noted that in some “classic TV shows” there was a strong grandparent-grandchild story line. The student mentioned “Little House on the Prairie” as an example with the grandparents living with the grandkids.

For your leadership exercise, answer and then discuss the following questions.

  • So, today what kind of metaphor is the modern media creating (e.g. by stories in movies, books, TV, online, etc.)?
  • How does the media portray the “hero” and “super-hero” today?
  • Do they have strong grandparental ties or weak ones?

You will want to look up the popularity of the “orphan” metaphor in popular culture.  In other words, who are some of the famous “orphans” in popular culture (again, e.g. movies, TV, shows, etc.) that are serving as models for young people.  And, how prevalent are these models of “orphaned heroes?”