We all know that Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are full of lessons that we can apply to our lives. But I just thought of one for the first time, one so obvious I never realized it could apply to the audience as well as the characters:
Korra struggles so much with recognizing her worth separate from her identity as the Avatar. Maybe the lesson we are supposed to take from this conundrum is that WHO we are matters more than WHAT we are. A lot of adults in our world try to define themselves and others in terms of their professions, but a person is more than just what they do for a living. Su points out that a single person can have many roles, talents, and interests. To define Korra simply as “The Avatar” gives her some credit, but it says nothing about who she is as a person (headstrong, fierce, empathetic, confident, vulnerable, quick-tempered, friendly). Introducing someone as “a lawyer” or “a writer” or “a teacher” or “a grocer” only tells us a fraction of who they are, yet tricks us into believing that is the majority or entirety of who they are.
Maria Shriver explored this concept of identity and self-worth in her book Just Who Will You Be? The big question of growing up, she argues, is not to figure out WHAT you want to be, but WHO you want to be.