Superheroes grow from superchildren.

Who has ever observed sleeping infants knows that many of them sleep in a “superman” position. One little hand is stretched up, the other one lays along the little body. It looks more or less like that:



So, how does one raise a child to become a super adult? And who is this superadult, this contemporary hero, anyway? To me, it’s a person who doesn’t look away, when seeing hurt, who stands up against bullies, it’s the first one from the crowd to lend a helping hand to someone who fell. Please, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to promote recklessness or jeopardizing one’s own or other people’s health and safety. Hero is rather someone, who’d keep his composure, would be able to judge the situation and act accordingly. Hero knows what he’s worth. He’s not an outcast, quite on the contrary – he’s settled deeply in a society structure but instead of fitting in, he stands for a good influence, an example to follow. He’s a righteous man, not a pigeon.*

Where does the inspiration to become a super child come from?

First of all – from tales and stories.

Since I became a parent the only channel that has been on in our house is Minimini (polish equivalent of Cbeebies) I caught myself already a few times wondering about the situation of Equestria ponies. Or eagerly awaiting new episode of Willa’s wild life. Not to mention the situations when our son went away, having lost interest in Masha and the Bear adventures, whereas his father and I were so into it, we completely didn’t notice that our little excuse for watching it had already moved his traps somewhere else, some time ago.
When I was a child, cartoons weren’t thrilling, even for a child. And in my house there was no special channel for children. I stopped watching cartoons before I turned 10.

It wasn’t until recently seeing “Rastamouse” that I realised how much I had missed it. Not only in terms of watching animated pictures, though, it is a sight for my sorrow eyes. But in terms of listening about “right” and “wrong”. About taking some lessons, such as: when you screw up you’d better admit it and apologize. And you’d better make some repairs.

With time, heroes enter child’s world straight from books. My favourite ones where Sindbad the Sailor – from whom I learn to love travel and Cpt. Wildcat – from whom I learned to guard order and justice. Now I need to take care of selecting a nice library for the younger generation. And hope that they will learn from Spiderman to fight evil. Not to jump from skyscrapers.

Second – at school.

And here we start to have a problem. And it’s not about the school program (though it could you use some further thinking through). It’s also not the matter of other kids, though they can also be a problem as hell. The issue are the teachers. Talking to teenage friends and family members brought me to a conclusion that not much has changed since I left school. Still so many teachers become one because:

a. they have a wealthy spouse and teaching is something that doesn’t bother them much in life (while receiving all the work benefits, such as insurance etc.)
b. they couldn’t come up with a better idea about what to do with their master diploma in English philology or their master in History.

Many say that teachers salaries are fine when you look at it in terms of how much time they spend at work. True. But in my opinion those salaries should be higher, significantly higher. So that we can start creating positive (instead of negative) selection for this occupation. Teacher’s role is so important. Super important. This is the person that day after day creates our society of tomorrow. The society in which almost all of us will get to live. I do care what this society will be like. I bet I’m not the only one. Therefore it’s so important that teaching is handled by competent people, aware of the importance of their role, people that offer positive influence. Contemporary heroes of everyday life.

Third and most important – at home.

Exactly, at home. Upbringing starts with work on our own manners. With being an example to follow. You cannot give a performance of proper behaviour from time to time, while being totally different person on everyday basis. Child is an expert at recognizing such duplicity. We shape the child mostly when we are ourselves. Unfortunately, we also shape their behaviours when we get furious, when we swear, or, while still being at home, we explain over the phone that we’re “already on our way”. Oh yes, all those little sins matter. And this little world-observer will catch all of them, remember them well and probably will enact them sooner or later. And then we have situations when a parent in “tv-couch” mode explains to a child that it needs to be active. Which of the lessons will be duly noted – the one that child heard about, or the one that child was observing – what do you think?
Just keep that in mind. Also those of you who don’t have children yet. If you start working on your bad habits by the time your child is an angry teenager – it’s water over the dam. If not for them, keep that in mind for your own sake.
Be aware of that – also those of you who don’t plan to breed – ever. Because you are the Adults. You are also a character to imitate. And maybe this spoiled brat of your neighbours or of your friends is getting on your nerves and maybe you don’t care about him at all. But keep in mind that you also can shape his behaviour. It can be in such a way, that you wouldn’t like to come across him and his fellows anytime in the future. Or you can be the good influence and start the ripples.

To be continued

8I recommend a great TEDx talk of prof. Zimbardo on the nature of contemporary heroism

please specify correct url