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Tuesday, March 13 2018 08:27

From Asgard to America: Raising the New Generation of #WarriorKids

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This Thor: Ragnarok special feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Life of Dad.

As Bob Dylan famously sung, “The Times They Are a-Changin’” - and those words, recorded in 1963, are just as relevant now as they were back then. The early 60’s were tumultuous times, and in many ways the uncertainty of that era is reflected in today’s society as the waves of right and wrong continue to clash, reshaping our world in the process. It was from that same era that a powerful warrior came forth - The Mighty Thor first wielding his mythical hammer, Mjolnir in the pages of Marvel Comics’ Journey Into Mystery in the fall of 1962. It might not be immediately recognizable on the surface, but the tales of Thor have much to do with an underlying theme of family, and a parent’s desire to raise their children to be warriors. Some warriors are born, while others are forged and a true “warrior” comes in many faces. Just as Odin wanted only the best for his children, I will do my best to ensure the same for mine...

Our oldest daughter, Addie, will turn nine this year. Because of where her birthday falls, she’s a year younger than her classmates, and it’s been said that for a child, a year difference can create a massive gap in development between two kids. When placed in the same situation, there’s been challenges at times, and Adalyn has shown the determination of a warrior… there’s a fire in her eyes, and I’ve seen those tiny fists clenched like the Hulk when frustration becomes something that feels like an impenetrable wall. Somehow, much like Thor summoning the power of thunder and lightning, she makes it through just fine.

THOR: RAGNAROK - Berzerker Thor!

For our youngest, Finley (5), there have not necessarily been any major challenges that have presented themselves just yet, but she’s a feisty one. Like her sister, she shares a desire to help others and do good, but at times I worry that the problems of the world are being absorbed too much by their little minds. They want to solve the problem of homelessness, end hunger, heal the sick and injured, and “defeat the bad guys.” Cute, yes - but those are very weighty issues that they can’t fully comprehend.. Addie wants to be a doctor. Finn wants to be a police officer.

Thor: Ragnarok - The Beauty of Asgard

For me, growing up in Illinois was never easy. It can be a very beautiful place, but it can also be a very dangerous one. My wife and I have consciously put our family in a better place, and we’ve done so with the hope that our girls will have better opportunities than we did, and that they will grow up in a safe environment. That said, there’s still danger that’s always lurking, and if you’ve seen Chicagoland on the news, you know that there are some… issues, and that’s being polite. We tried to keep that stuff in the background, but the kids have reached the age where they know, and in an age of regular lockdown drills they’re mindful of what’s out there. I went through a tough time around 30 years ago where I was bullied and beaten almost daily (to the point of broken bones) by neighborhood thugs. Despite the pain at the time, that experience helped shape me into the man I am today, and I will never allow my daughters to go through that - but they have to be able to defend themselves, which is why they’re both learning the martial arts.

Thor: Ragnarok - Valkyrie on a Pegasus

Our world is ever-changing, and it seems that we’ve entered a new era of uncertainty. We hope that our daughters will grow into the kind of warriors that will use the power of their minds and the kindness in the hearts as their primary weapons… but should the situation demand it, their fists and feet will be ready for the fight as well - just like Thor, a Valkyrie or any other noble warriors of their ilk. Asgard had to face the possibility of Ragnarok… and Earth is facing challenges as well.

In Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok – the destruction of his home world and the end of Asgardian civilization – at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela (Cate Blanchett). But first he must survive a deadly gladiatorial contest that pits him against his former ally and fellow Avenger – the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) – and grapple with his silver-tongued adopted brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), the fierce warrior Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and the eccentric Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum).

EDITOR’S NOTE: This has been a sponsored post on behalf of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Marvel Studios’ Thor: Ragnarok - now available on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™, DVD and On-Demand. The personal tales presented have been spun by The Rock Father™. For more from Asgard’s most famous son, follow Thor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Visit ShopDisney.com to see a mighty assortment of Thor: Ragnarok merchandise!

James Zahn

James Zahn is not a journalist, nor a blogger, though he may be credited as such by others, or even accept the title... depending on the circumstance.  Instead, he considers himself largely to be an "entertainment and lifestyle writer," bringing 25+ years of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries into the family realm as THE ROCK FATHER™.

As a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur, James now finds himself raising a pair young girls - The Rock Daughters™ - along with his wife from their Illinois home.

He is a member of The Toy Insider Parent Advisory Board, has contributed to The Toy Book and writes a regular Star Wars column - Transmissions from a Galaxy Far, Far Away for The Pop Insider. He also regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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