Perched on my desk, green felt peaking above my computer screen, sits a replica of my personal hero. Every day, his presence offers me comfort and reminds me that there is always a bright side.
Kermit the Frog has been my hero for a few years, but it’s hard to tell people because someone always has to laugh. I know that the laughing is justified—a college-aged young adult looking up to a puppet is hardly something to take seriously—but still, I think there are many reasons to look up to the frog.
First, he has an uncanny way of turning ordinary things into wonderful things. In his wise words, Kermit once said, “It’s not that easy being green.” While this sentiment may sound discouraging, in his usual optimistic way, he turns it around and makes it about how there is beauty in being plain.
Inspiration plays a large role in why I look up to a felt frog. In the song “Finale: The Magic Store,” Kermit and his friends sing about the transformation from being a silly kid into being a success. They sing in the second person, and because of that, there is a feeling of wonderment that makes the listener, me at least, feel capable of doing amazing things.
Hearing Kermit say, “Life’s like a movie, write your own ending, keep believing, keep pretending,” is like being told that anything is possible. Not in the way that kids hear that they can be an astronaut or the president someday, but in a way that means something. There are no limits on what we can do, and that’s made perfectly clear by the song.
Kermit uses similar ideas with other songs, too. A personal favorite of mine, “Moving Right Along,” tells of Kermit and Fozzie’s journey to Los Angeles after the realization that his talents—singing and playing the banjo—can make people happy. Even though everything about the trip is going wrong, the frog-and-bear duo is nothing but optimistic, and optimism is something I can always use more of.
But most famously, “The Rainbow Connection” creates an inspirational feeling that differs from the others. Instead of saying outright that anything is possible, the song, written by Jim Henson and Paul Williams, uses the frog to say that people want to believe in things. Whether those things are dreams or miracles or whatever, there are people who will try to say that those things aren’t real.
Kermit refuses to believe what everyone is telling him. He knows that there has to be more. There is something out there that makes people keep believing, but more than that, someday we’re going to find it.
We’re going to find what it is that makes us believe; we’re going to find our reason and purpose. And more often than I’d like to admit, that idea brings tears to my eyes.
But more than just singing some inspiring songs, Kermit is a role model because he goes through situations that are mostly realistic for people, too.
While the scenarios have a Muppet-like charm, their basis—financial struggle, relationship problems, etc.—are everyday struggles, and Kermit just wants to do the right thing.
His genuine desire to treat people kindly and make the world a better place justifies his role as my hero. Even when it puts him out, even when there’s a hard decision to make, even if it makes him look like the bad guy, he does everything to make other people happy, and that makes him happy. By putting others first and doing his best to better the world, he is achieving his own dreams.
But perhaps the best thing that Kermit reminds people is that you shouldn’t take yourself seriously all the time. All too often, I get caught up in trying to achieve goals, and I get stressed out to the point of making myself sick, but doing something that you enjoy doing should not make you feel bad. Kermit’s ability to laugh at himself and his situations is a quality that I strive to have.