Harnessing your inner Superhero

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.

Superman

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39 Responses to Harnessing your inner Superhero

  1. Kally says:

    This post is super cool!

  2. Roy McCarthy says:

    I agree with, and applaud your sentiments about our young people Jane. They will save the universe in their own way because it’s the right thing to do. I never had thoughts of being a super hero but I think I’d have made a good Batman.

  3. bernieLynne says:

    So glad you shared this perspective of the superheroes. Sounds like an interesting project this Scott has undertaken.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Isn’t it just? Maybe I should try that for my 80th?!! 🤣🤣 His many friends look forward to his new entry every day. It’ll be anticlimactic for them the day after his birthday!

      • bernieLynne says:

        Funny I just creeped him on Facebook– pretty sure he would make great blogger as he can tell good story. I love the idea — 65 for 65 would be my goal.

        • Jane Fritz says:

          There you go, Bernie, yet another project to think about! Scott would make a great blogger. He’s pretty busy though; along with all his other responsibilities and interests, he’s chairperson of Canada’s National Advisory Council on Poverty!

  4. Inkplume says:

    I love this post and its message – thank you!

  5. I love this take on the superhero. It makes me look at the whole phenomenon differently. They are symbols of many things, but working to be our better selves and to make the world a better place certainly resonates with me.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      I know. A force for good. I never really took the full measure of their “purpose” other than as pure entertainment (for young boys, mostly). See what we were missing! 😊

  6. This is what I love about the blogging community. Thanks for sharing Scott’s post, Jane. I realize it was a FB post, but close enough. It really resonated. – Marty

  7. I used to read Richie Rich and Archie. My grandfather used to read the Sunday comics every morning when the paper was delivered. When he came to America from Sweden this was his way of learning English. My kids grew up reading all kinds of comics with Star wars being their favorites.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Richie Rich and Archie, eh, LRH?! Sounds like you missed the superheroes! 😏Star Wars is probably closer to the mark as a force for good (or in their case at least against bad).

  8. Loved this❤️.Happy Easter🥚🐇.

  9. LA says:

    💗love this post!

  10. A super hero is right! And a very thoughtful one, too. There is much that can be gleaned from super heroes and comic books. Happy, happy birthday, Scott.

  11. This is a wonderful post. I agree with you. Comics taught a generation of children about right and wrong.
    My oldest son is turning 48 this year and he is definitely a part of the generation who were enthralled with superheroes. I vividly remember him putting a towel around his neck even as a toddler so he could pretend to fly around the room like Superman. In fact, a good friend of mine from high school, Mike Zeck was working for Marvel comics (you can google him) and I asked him if he’d draw Superman and Batman for my son so I could put them up in his room. Now comic book fans know know that those heroes are in the DC comic world, but Mike was dating my younger sister at the time and kindly obliged.(Even though he is well known for other Marvel heroes.) It was the Super friends that my young son idolized. And so I found fabric with pictures of the Superfriends (Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman) and sewed the fabric into sheets, pillows cases and curtains so his entire room could be a DC comic book world. A few years later all the superheroes were commercialized and made into bed wear for children. And that much easier than making everything by hand. As a teacher I didn’t mind that my son like to read comics or tried to draw all the characters. But most of all I liked the message that was implied…it was of truth, justice and the American way. All wonderful concepts. My son is now the executive director for a non profit organization that gives back to the community and helps fund medical care, community outreach programs, a poetry network, and gives college scholarships etc. He learned a lot from superheroes, especially giving back to his community. And Wonder Woman gave girls a positive role model to look up to.
    The irony of all this is that my mother grew up in a Jewish section of Cleveland, Ohio, and down the street from where she lived there were two teenage boys a bit older than she was. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who used to draw comics and share them with the local kids on the block. They invented the character of Superman. And eventually sold their concept. She used to talk about it when my son was growing up and I didn’t really think she knew the creators. However, many years later when I was teaching in the early 1990’s, a little boy in my class brought his grandfather with him to school. His grandpa was visiting from California. Anyhow, He told everyone that his Grandpa created Superman. At recess I asked his grandad if he was originally from Cleveland and he said yes, and I proceeded to ask if he remembered The Freibergs from his old neighborhood and mentioned my mom. Well, low and behold he remembered her and the family. So all her stories were true. Later i researched Superman’s inventors and discovered I’d spent an entire afternoon with one of them. Pretty amazing! Two kids during the depression being creative started something miraculous!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Holy mackerel, Lesley, what a truly remarkable story. I’m so glad that Scott’s reminisces about superheroes led to you sharing own very special ones. They would make great examples for a blog post about the interconnected threads of our lives.

      • Yes, I suppose it would! I really never thought about that before. Well, I suppose a little. During chemotherapy I’d think about a lot of things to make time pass. And i would sometimes think about connections. I think we all have a little of “Kevin Bacon” within us.
        Actually, both my sons always tell me stories about people I’ve connected with that they’ve met. Example: my son who is the exec. of a Foundation, For a long time was trying to get ahold of the CEO of a certain company but he could never get a meeting with her. One day we were chatting and he needed two more judges for the final poetry competition in a program he started which has expanded state wide and winners receive college scholarships. Anyhow, he asked me to judge because of my teaching background and I suggested my friend, Marla who happened to be a poet would enjoy it too. When he asked her last name so he could contact her he almost fell out of his chair when he heard her name. He said… wait.. Mom… you mean your buddy, the one who was in your high school rock band, and the friend You meet for lunch all the time is THAT Marla? He told me he’s been trying to get a meeting with her for years and had no clue I knew her. Let alone was close friends with her. I told him I know a lot of people. He should ask me from now on. Lol .
        PS. She was thrilled To judge, and judges every year now, plus donates to the foundation’s non profit educational program. My other son, who is an assistant director in movies and Tv constantly discovers people he works with who knew me when I was a young actress. Lol. Or discovers the production assistants or costume designers on set who used to be in my classroom when they were little. Yes, We are all interconnected. It’s pretty amazing. The biggest shock was recently when one of the board members at my son’s foundation gave a speech. He would always talk about being a scared kid coming to America and not speaking English but thanks to a young teacher who spent extra hours before and after school helping him learn English, he mastered the language. Anyhow he showed up with an old 1980’s yearbook he found when he was packing to move his family to a new home. He showed my son a picture of that teacher. It was ME! I was a young divorced single mom and my son was in kindergarten at the time. But this man was a fourth grader then. Turns out, he told my son that I changed everything for him. He’s a successful businessman today and he said it was because I told him I could be anybody or do anything he wanted to be.
        And he showed him where I signed his yearbook. That’s my favorite connection of all. I was so proud of how that little boy turned out!
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Degrees_of_Kevin_Bacon.

        Ac

    • That is such a cool story.

  12. AMWatson207 says:

    Beautiful insights. And proof that life long friendships pay enormous dividends.

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