Are You Raising a Real Superhero?
“One of the saddest days of my life was when my mother told me ‘Superman’ did not exist…she thought I was crying because it’s like Santa Claus is not real. I was crying because no one was coming with enough power to save us.”-Geoffrey Canada
Last night my son and I watched Waiting for “Superman“, a documentary that examines how our public school system is failing students and their families. The movie was able to impress upon my son what I have been saying to him for years: “A quality education is something worth fighting for.”
I understand that challenge the families in the movie faced quite well. I spent last year trying to make sense of the high school process of New York City Department of Education. I live in NYC, one of the largest cities in the country. We have an abundance of resources, activities and cultural events, yet we do not have enough good schools to meet the needs of all the families living here.
After the tedious and complicated high school process (in which we listed our 12 school choices), the computer matched my son to a random school on the list. Although there are options for specialized high schools and charter schools, the number of seats available are so , that you have thousands of students scrambling to get one of the 100s of spots available. We then made the decision to put him in private school. I rather sacrifice something for myself than deny my son a quality education. Last night, he thanked me for making that decision.
My son grew frustrated as he watched the movie, so I asked him “If you’re so angry, what are you going to do about it?” It’s a question I often ask him when he complains to me about injustices in the world. I tell him that he has the power to make a change. When he has taken action, he’s seen change in action. He knows that he can “be a change in the world”. What I want him to keep in mind that every hero’s feat is not always met with fanfare and recognition. It’s important to do the right things in life because you have integrity and morals, not because you want to be lauded as a hero.
Little boys love superheroes but somehow when they lose their innocence and realize superheroes are not real, they may also lose their desire to make a difference in the world. We need to remind our sons that real superheroes are everyday people who want to make the world a better place. The real heroes often go unnoticed and they rarely have alter egos. They are humble and unassuming. They are empathetic and live life with a purpose rather than a superficial motivation. They aren’t complainers and whiners, they are doers.
I’m not raising my sons to sit idly and wait for someone else to do it. My sons will not be waiting for Superman.
What are you doing to raise a real superhero?