Do you have an idol? Not those musical ones. The real ones. If so, who is your idol? As a grown-up you would like to give a good answer – someone worthy of your admiration. Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa are likely to come up for our generation. Or for a more general idolisation: People giving up their normal pleasant daily life to work in war-ridden zones for Medecins Sans Frontieres or the like.
As mothers we get well acquainted with another type of idols – namely a whole range of superheroes. The strong resonance with really young kids – especially with boys – when it comes to Superman, Spiderman or any of their buddies is fascinating. And for Carnival or dress-up parties it is difficult to avoid the easily available superhero costumes. It is only in the moment when your little son is at the top of the staircase you realise that they completely merge with the part. They become Superman. And they can actually fly. A friend’s son became Robin Hood – carrying an imaginary bow and arrow all the time.
It is understandable. Being a superhero gives you control. And who wouldn’t like to have that? Admittedly superheroes are not showing the best of behaviours all the time, they sometimes punch people and are not portraying all the nice qualities we would like our kids to develop.
But rather than thinking about what unintended consequences of superhero-worshiping could lead to for our sons and daughters – it would maybe be equally interesting to contemplate what a lot of adults miss out on? What importance do role models have for us? And could we be more attentive to heroes as a source of inspiration?
Being normal and abiding to normality takes a lot of strength. Is it possible to stretch beyond? Maybe our energy could become a superpower in the things we do? Define your task – like saving the world – or something else like cooperating with your colleague, prepare a culinary surprise for dinner, multi-task – or learn a new skill – and just do it.
As long as our children are young we are whether we want it or not, their role-models. Most of the times we forget about it. When we remember, after having had a hard day at work and swearing in the car, we realise how bad we perform at times. So how to be your child’s superhero if you can’t be a good role model for them. Maybe it’s time to take a good long breath and a glass of wine. Because life’s ain’t that simple.
But we all need someone to look up to in difficult tough times. Someone that finds the way, a solution others don’t see. Someone that saves our world. So if you don’t have an idol, a hero – maybe it’s time to find one. Perfection is not needed. You don’t have to agree with him or her all the time for them to spur a better you.