Monday, November 2, 2015

T. A. Barron: Heroes, Merlin, and the Meaningful Life

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Some of you may have noticed, that I have recently posted two reviews on T. A. Barron's books. As mentioned in my posts about ILA, I met the New York Times Bestselling author during an author "meet & greet". Recently, he invited me to attend a presentation he was giving in Omaha, Nebraska....just a short three hour drive from where my husband and I live.

Not wanting to miss the occasion, I accepted Tom's invitation. My husband and I packed our overnight bag and made the lovely trek up to Omaha.

Tom's presentation was sponsored by Center for Faith Studies and was given at the Countryside Community United Church of Christ.

Tom's presentation centered around two things that inspired him with both living his life and writing his books: heroes and nature.

Tom was born in Boston but his family moved to a ranch in Colorado. That move made him develop a strong connection to nature and helped him realize an important hero in his life, his mother Gloria Barron. Gloria worked at a school for the blind and she helped create a hands-on nature museum for the visually impaired. Her work and the quiet way she completed it, with no thought for fame or media attention, made him see the attributes of a true hero.

As he grew up, more heroes influenced his life. Some were fictional, like the character of Merlin. Tom read many tales surrounding the great and wise wizard. To Tom, Merlin seemed to understand humanity and to deeply connect with nature. But he always wondered what experiences had led Merlin to become such a legendary wizard. This question was the spark that inspired Tom's Merlin saga and gave Tom the opportunity to define Merlin's path to becoming a hero.  

After Tom became an author, he had an uncomfortable confrontation by a girl that shook him. She stated that young people could not be true heroes or change the world. Instead of being upset by her statement, Tom went to work and researched youth who were making a difference in the world. That led to The Hero's Trail and to his development of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes. 

When Tom first started writing, he was the president of a successful equity firm in New York City. But living in the city was not the ideal for him or his family. When his books started to do well, he quit his job and moved his family back to Colorado.

With this move, he was able to reconnect to nature again. This interaction with nature, along with safeguarding it's creatures, is Tom's way of reconnecting with God and appreciating His handiwork. Tom argues that another of his heroes, Noah, would not have gone to all the trouble to build the ark if Noah wasn't privy to the Lord's love and need of the earth's animals.

Tom's overall message is that anyone can be a hero and everyone can make a difference in by nurturing the earth the Lord created.

A fantastic and inspiring presentation that my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks for the invite, Tom!      

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