Raising a Superhero

Raising superheroes is a tough business. Great power, great responsibility and all that. I love to see my kids don their Spiderman costumes, superhero capes and fairy wings. One heals the sick with her wand, one takes down an impossible number of bad guys with his flying discs that never miss. They outrun danger with their super speed, foil the queen with a spell and sail away on a pirate ship made from the table cover and a couple chairs, beaming and victorious.

This is the magic and power of imagination, and I don’t want to discount it. It’s one of the greatest gifts in humanity and I agree with Miss Alice in Wonderland when it comes to believing in impossible things (sometimes as many as six before breakfast). I believe in day dreams and pretend and make-believe and fairy tales and happily ever after. Although, I don’t think we always get the details quite right.

A lot of popular TV, books, movies and video games are dominated by the super-human. Vampires, werewolves, wizards and superheroes entertain and inspire us with their powers and the many ways they defy human limitations, at least in the physical sense. Usually (conveniently), we minimize and/or ignore their struggles and problems, which are often far too human to be interesting.

Don’t get me wrong, all that would be nice. Super human speed, mind reading, magic spells for dinner and homework and house cleaning. Yeah, I probably wouldn’t turn it down, but, since it’s not really an option (for most of us???) I want to teach my kids to have at least a little appreciation for all the power we do have as average, every day humans.

Like the awesome ability to offer someone;

  • Kindness
  • Forgiveness
  • Encouragement
  • Support
  • Consideration
  • Comfort
  • Appreciation
  • Help
  • Faith

These are the superpowers of humanity and when we call on them, we feel it. We know we’ve done something right. They aren’t flashy. They don’t emit a radioactive, electric blue light. They don’t boom and bang or blow things apart, but I argue, for a human in need, they are no less valuable.

Sometimes a simple kindness can save the day.

Think of an encouragement that turned the tide of your week or a comfort offered in the midst of a loss. Think of being humbled by a much-needed forgiveness or how nice it is sometimes to simply be heard. These are powerful things.

And most of us know these human powers aren’t always easy wield. Sometimes, because of ourselves, our nature, our struggles, our vices, they’re the hardest to offer. But the strongest among us always find a way to help others.

Isn’t that what the superheroes do? Aren’t they all just trying to help/save/protect ‘the people’?

So, yeah, I’m guilty of fanning the flames of imagination (dousing with gasoline, whatever) but I want my kids to know what really makes them a superhero isn’t the pretend stuff. It’s the power of their choices, their actions, the impact they can have on others. It’s all their possibility and potential to give and help along the course of their lives.

And most importantly, I don’t want them to ever lose sight of the fact that it all comes from inside themselves, no magic wand and/or spider bite required.

Comments / Thoughts / Questions? Chime in, please.

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