The Case of the March of Dimes
“This isn’t like other causes that my company has gotten involved with. With this one, you can’t blame the victim for what has happened. . . .” Not surprisingly, in terms of the archetypal story patterns that have inspired people since ancient times, the plight of the vulnerable Innocent aroused the dormant heroic spirit in people. While they were ﬁrst uncomfortable thinking of themselves as heroes, they were instinctually drawn to heroic heights by the need to protect Innocent babies. Moreover, the overall concept of the March of Dimes was interpreted as a heroic one. On reﬂection, they saw the March of Dimes as the embodiment of the essence of the Hero and the heroic cause: “Willing to tackle huge challenges.” “If they cured polio, they can do this!” “Able to envision possibilities others simply cannot see.” “The March of Dimes can envision a day when no baby is born with a birth defect. . . . Wow!!!” “Unselfish and self-sacrificing.” “The doctors, the parents, the survivors who go beyond the call of duty.” “People doing this to help babies who aren’t their own.” “People walking for strangers.” “Inspiring others to leave their narrow lives and join the movement, the force.” “The more people that walk, the more money we raise, the more babies we save.” “I do only a little something, but there are a lot of us.” “We’re part of something big, something important.” “Gives me a feeling of fullness, purpose.” We learned, though, to avoid Hero messages that were too explicit. People who are heroic, we found, often do not identify as Heroes. They see themselves as just doing what needed to be done. It became immediately clear that a somewhat more subtle approach was necessary that recognized the Hero’s reluctance to identify with such a grand archetype.