Saturday, 14 January 2017

How to grow up a superhero.

A few evenings ago as I tucked my 5 year old into bed and said goodnight, I looked down at him and noticed a sad look on his face.

'What's the matter sweetheart?' I asked him.

'I wish I could be a superhero... I want to be Spiderman or Superman'.

I thought about this for a moment, and then asked him, 'Superheros are kind right? Do you think you are kind?'

'Um... sometimes' he replied unsure.

'You are, you are great at sharing' I said. 'Superheros are brave, are you brave?'

'I don't know' he said.

'I think you're very brave; remember how you came with me to check out that noise we heard the other day when it was dark' I replied. 'Superheros never give up, do you try your best and keep trying?'

A smile crept on his face 'Yes! I really do try hard.'

'I know you do, like that time when you started your first swimming lesson and it was really hard, but you never gave up and now you can swim 25m! Superheros are strong too, I'm pretty sure you're the strongest 5 year old I know' I said smiling back.

Then he looked sad again, 'But I really really want to be a superhero, in real life'

'You know, superheros were children once too. And they grew up to be amazing people. If you want to change the world, you have to start by believing you can do it.'

I could see him thinking really hard about what I had said to him, his brow furrowed like he was imagining his superhero self 15 years in the future.

'Ok Mummy, I'll do my best.' he said, and closed his eyes.

I've been thinking about that conversation recently, and really contemplating what it is that inspires people to greatness. Like any parent, I want my children to grow up to be happy and successful in life.

But mainly, I want them to grow up to be good people. People who are kind, considerate and compassionate. I want them to be contentious members of society who care about the world and making a difference for the better.

Parenting doesn't come with a handbook. Sometimes I wish it did. Then other times, I realise that even if there were one, it wouldn't really make a huge amount of difference because every child is so different. There is no one size fits all rule for bringing up children. What I find works for one, rarely works for others. I'm pretty certain I get things wrong. A lot. I wish there were a re-wind button on days, after the storm has passed and I'm thinking more clearly.

So for now, here are the things I want my children to know about becoming a superhero. These are the qualities and values that I believe we all have the capacity to embrace and embody, and what truly makes a person fly.

Grow up having integrity. As C.S Lewis once said, do the right thing even when no one is watching. Sometimes, it may mean choosing to have courage to do what is hard instead of what is easy or fun.

Grow up with a fearless heart. Be brave and believe in your capacity to do something great with your lives.

Grow up with kindness for others. Kindness is one of the greatest gifts you can give another. It is easy to hate, but kindness takes great strength.

Grow up with resourcefulness. Look for ways to overcome the obstacles that come your way, be resourceful even if there are no resources.

Grow up knowing there is always a way to solve the problem. Superheroes don't give up, they look for new ways to fight the enemy and solving the problem means trying different things, learning from mistakes and adapting until you find a way.

Grow up with resilience.  Remember that storms always pass. Choose to be stronger because of them. You are what you choose to be. When the bad days come knocking. Don't run, say 'Bring it on!'

Grow up being a seeker of peace. Be mindful of others and look for ways to serve. Success does not need to manifest itself loudly, but can be found in quiet acts of kindness and generosity.

Grow up remembering to nourish your mind and body. Superheroes need to eat well and exercise! Read good books that inspire you, watch good movies that uplift you. Take time to meditate and think about what you want to be, and how you are going to get there. Visualise your life as you want it.

Grow up to be daring and take chances. Those that change the world are not shy and reserved. They are bold and brave enough to take risks.

Grow up believing in your dreams. Walt Disney once said 'If you can dream it.You can achieve it'. You have to unquestionably believe all the way to the end.

Grow up with strength of character. Be true to who you are. Make a stand for what you think is right and be strong enough to stick to it. Know that you can always rise back up after a fall.

Grow up understanding that there will be times you need to take the initiative. Don't wait to be shown, or wait for the perfect moment. Sometimes you need to take the first step even if those around you will not. 'The world is a dangerous place not because of those that do evil, but because of those that look on and do nothing.' - Einstein

Grow up to realise your talents. Everyone has a talent. Everyone has something they are good at. Find your talent and use it.

Grow up to be the best version of you. Don't compare yourself to anyone else but yourself.

We are all still growing up. We mustn't ever stop. We may grow old, but growing up means reaching higher. It means looking inwards to find what we need to do to grow taller and be stronger.

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  1. I absolutely agree. These are wonderful values to instill in our littles.

  2. This is such a sweet post. What child shouldn't aspire to be a superhero with all of their amazing qualities. thank you for entering this post in the #allformamss link party. Your writing is truly heartwarming. I tweeted this post

  3. Beautifully written and beautiful parenting mama! I absolutely loved this!

    1. Thanks so much, it's lovely to get supportive feedback from other wonderful mums!