Superheroes and Superpowers

Spider-Man: Far From Home, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and Avengers: Endgame have all come out recently with much fanfare. Superheroes with superpowers rule the box office. We as a culture are mesmerized and captured by the supernatural, a force beyond the laws of nature. There are remnants of these other worlds everywhere, from video games, books, comics to merchandise and costumes. Which is why it shouldn’t have been surprising to me that when I was out with my friend a few months ago, she starting talking about her son’s “superpower”. She described her son’s ability to constantly be in motion, with the endurance of a marathon runner and the abundance of energy like the energizer bunny. She claimed these abilities as his “superpowers”. I fell in love with this description of her child!

While we exalt fictional superheroes for abilities that are sometimes seen as ordinary, as a culture, when it comes to our little ones especially, we are quick to point out their weaknesses, complain about said weaknesses with frustration and judge one another on these perceived weaknesses. Instead, my friend chose to see her son’s abilities as not only positive, but powerful. How remarkable is that! This exercise of finding the superpower(s) within our children forced me to see the supernatural within my little ones and celebrate what makes them unique.

And I didn’t have to think long to come up with a list. My son’s superpowers are his passion, creativity and ability to focus. My daughter’s superpowers are her self-confidence, wittiness and remarkable maturity and clarity. And let’s not stop there. Taking this one step further, I started thinking of my own superpowers as well. To see one’s own strengths as superpowers not only provides a confidence boost (yes to increased self-confidence!), but also is deeply empowering. I can now use my superpowers of deep empathy and sensitivity, passion and community service simultaneously as body armor and ammunition.

Perhaps what drives the popularity of superhero films is our deep desire to possess these superpowers within ourselves, and what my friend reminded me is that we, especially our children, most certainly do.