Oakland SchoolsMATT LANGDON is a Heroism Trainer  with a BIG message for kids. It’s an empowering message, which he offers with a step-by-step guide to becoming a real-life Superman or Wonder Woman. The message is about saving real lives, it’s about beating back bullying, and it’s about being an independent student leader who reaches out to those in need of support anywhere in the world…

A kid doesn’t need super-powers to become a hero, but he or she does need to understand what choices to make in order to walk toward hero status. “Becoming a hero is hard,” said Langdon. “It’s lonely. I tell kids ‘I’m not going to lie; this is going to be tough. You’re going to fail. It’s going to be scary. It’s going to suck.’ THEN I tell them more truth: ‘Do it anyway. Because you will succeed. You will change the world. You will be a hero. It just takes one person to start.’”

Helping children understand the bully mentality, and the bully-bystander effect, is an important piece of Matt’s presentation. He is quick to point out that his group talks are not the typical anti-bully assemblies most schools organize year-after-year. Rather, his workshops center on snuffing out bully culture by building heroes – by helping children recognize their individual and collective power.

“Bullying works.” Matt announced. “Kids know this. What they don’t know, and need to be taught, is that each of us, right now, has the ability to change the world.”

“Anyone can be a hero. We all have power. In fact, the students at a school have more power than any of the teachers. They have more power than the principal! Power doesn’t mean violence or aggression. One person can change a negative situation by becoming a hero instead of a bystander.” Matt details the how-to-hero process in five steps (which he details in his must-read, enormously insightful Beating the Bystander Effect – An Open Letter to Teens):

  1. Stand Out
  2. Question the Rules
  3. Find New Tribes
  4. Remove the Reward
  5. Build a Team

“Heroism is not reserved for special people,” Langdon added. “The difference is that heroes ACT. To be a hero you need to practice regularly in order to be READY…heroism starts with small, repeated steps.”

Matt referenced two twelfth-grade teens whose supportive action towards a new ninth-grade student became the basis for an international anti-bullying movement known as Pink Shirt Day, celebrated this year on Wednesday, February 27.

WATCH Matt explain Pink Shirt Heroism in the VIDEO below (click on IMAGE):

Oakland Schools

“David Shepherd and Travis Price used the ‘Power of Symbols’ and unleashed a sea of pink on the school the day after the bullying incident. These guys are heroism in action; they took a risk to help somebody else with no intended benefit to themselves,” Langdon observed.

“People change. It just takes a spark – you can be that spark!”



TEACHERS: Resources to Teach Heroism in Your Classroom

“To This Day” Project – Shane Koyczan (VIDEO)

Gallery of Heroes (great internet list of people & book characters)

The Hero Handbook (for adults)

The Hero Construction Company (Matt Langdon’s website)

      NEW! CONFERENCE on Heroism: The Hero Roundtable (very appropriate for educators and students, Nov. 9 & 10, 2013, Swartz Creek, MI-near Flint)


from Jean MacLeod, Communications/Oakland Schools

Oakland Schools


Oakland Schools • 2111 Pontiac Lake Road • Waterford, MI 48328-2736 • 248.209.2000

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