I bet you never fantasize about being a superhero, at least not since you were a kid. Kids can dream. Well, after reading a friend’s Facebook post this morning about his childhood dreams of being a superhero, and especially the significant insights that went along with his reminiscences, I knew I had to share his observations. Scott MacAfee shared these words of wisdom with his Facebook friends while recounting how much he had loved reading Superhero comics as a kid, as well as describing several scary antics (to mothers everywhere) he engaged in as he tried to conjure up his own superhero powers. These are Scott’s concluding paragraphs, well worth reading and taking to heart. [The bolding is mine.]
… The great part about comics is that these unlikely heroes had something bad happen to them, then they evolved and used their new ability to benefit the world in big or small ways. This sounds like purpose to me and reminds me of something a great mentor of mine once told me “Find your place, take your place, all of your place, but only your place”.
I read Kingdom Come as an adult. It is set in the future where the offspring of heroes have stopped taking care of humanity; they have become bored, selfish and detached. The old heroes come back and try to punish them, but that doesn’t work, so they find a new way forward together. They reconnect and recommit to their shared humanity, start caring about and taking care of each other again and peace is restored.
What if… comics were/are encouraging us to lean into who we are, be our full selves, develop our talents and skills, share them with the world, and be an example for those that have a harder road to lean into theirs, while at the same time being open minded and open hearted to accepting others as they are could that mean that everyone was actually a superhero?
Or maybe they are just a bunch of short stories with cool pictures and bright colours to occupy kids with short attention spans, I guess we’ll never know…
If that’s not a powerful interpretation of what kids can get out of reading superhero comics, I don’t know what is. See, Scott, you are a superhero. So all of you who are despairing of your young sons reading nothing but superhero comics – and there are many of them – take heart. It turns out that superheroes are actually excellent role models (except for the leaping over buildings in a single bound part of their exploits, that is).
There’s a further lesson for parents of young children who have concerns about their kids taking the important things seriously enough, and what will become of them.
Scott MacAfee has been a friend of my older son since before either of them were old enough to even read a comic book. This year they and their large group of friends now spread out all over the world are turning 50! They did all the things your kids are doing now that may occasionally concern you. You know what those things are, although some things you’d just as soon not know about! They were kids being kids.
To celebrate the milestone, Scott is writing a remembrance for each of 50 days in advance of his 50th. Today’s offering was #29. And his daily remembrances of all the crazy things they did when they were young are bringing smiles and tears to lots of eyes. The eyes of people I had the privilege of watching grow up. They’ve grown into caring, responsible individuals: spouses, fathers and mothers, community builders, community supporters, entrepreneurs, and professionals. First they were our future, and now they are our present. And we are in good hands. Very good hands. I’m proud to know them all. So for those of you whose kids are still at home, maybe making ramps off their garage roof to see if they can fly or spending all day lying on their bed playing superhero video games, don’t worry. I know it’s hard to see, but they’re absorbing the values you set for them while they appear to be paying absolutely no attention. Your kids are going to be just fine.