Art by Prentis Rollins (2017, Commissioned by Tim Board)

Aug 30, 2020

The Inspiration of Hawkman

I teach in a private school in southern Japan. I've taught here for 25 yrs. During the school year, all of the teachers are required to give a motivational speech to the students. Well, last week it was my turn and I talked about what else? Hawkman!

I can see some of you rolling your eyes. "Does this guy ever talk about anything else?" Yes, I do! Occasionally. But anyway, I talked to my students about Hawkman. No one, I mean no one, in Japan knows anything about Hawkman. So I introduced the character.
I told them about how he is a hero who is born to fly, to fight for justice, and to protect life. The open sky is his place. It's where he is most comfortable and strongest. I asked my students where they felt most comfortable. Then I asked them if they could or would step out of that comfort zone if they had the chance. I asked a couple kids and they said no. Then I told them about Hawkman's day job. As Carter Hall, he's an archaeologist. I asked some kids what an archaeologist does. There were varied answers.
I told them that an archaeologist digs. He goes down. Away from the sky. Into dark places. So why does Carter Hall do that? The open sky is his comfort zone. It's where he feels safe. It's where he feels the strongest. Why would he leave his safe, comfort zone willingly?
I told them that the current Hawkman writer Robert Venditti gives us two reasons; exploration and discovery. The only way Carter Hall was going to discover new things and find the answers was by leaving his comfort zone and by going into places where he was not comfortable.
By exploring places out of his comfort zone, he would discover things he never knew, discover more about himself, and discover what he can truly do. But to become stronger, smarter, and better, he had come down out of the sky and go down underground to find his answers.
A lot of my Japanese students really struggle with learning English. They don't like to make mistakes, they want to be perfect, and they don't want to be laughed at. They don't like to be uncomfortable. But I told them that if they truly wanted to improve and move up, they were going to have to step out of their comfort zone. I told them my story. I came to Japan when I was 27. Everyone bowed, drove on the wrong side of the road, ate with sticks, and spoke a language that sounded like a record played backward. I was VERY uncomfortable.
But I kept digging, kept exploring, kept discovering, and now? I could speak that backward language. I had the most beautiful wife in the world. (laughter of course) I had a home and the chance to help other kids try the same thing I did. I have been able to experience things I never would have experienced if I had stayed in my comfort zone. So I told them that now whenever I look at Hawkman, I'm reminded of the importance of becoming strong in my comfort zone, but also the necessity of going into places where I'm not comfortable.
To continue to explore. I told them to find something that reminds them and challenges them to step out of their comfort zone. Something that makes them want to explore and discover. If they can remember to do that, they'll be better English speakers and not only that but have a much more rewarding life than if they had stayed in their comfort zone. I told them that Hawkman was going to be in a new movie with The Rock. I asked them to remember this talk if they see the movie and maybe find some inspiration to dig deeper and fly higher.
Sorry for the long thread. But I thought I would share the little talk I had the chance to give to my students in Japan.  Thanks for reading.
Come and sign the #SaveHawkmanCampaign petition!

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