Story time: superpowers for superheroes


The question arose amid a heated battle between Captain America and the Hulk.

My grandson Ivan is 5 years old and an expert in superheroes. So I told him that, just as the Hulk crushed Captain America. “Ivan, you know your superheroes well! »

“And you, Queenie,” Ivan asked. “Do you know any superheroes with superpowers?

“Oh yes,” I whispered, as if I was about to share a secret, “but their powers aren’t like the Hulk’s or Captain America’s.”

With that, I lost his attention. How do you explain to a superpower-loving boy that there are real heroes who don’t transport through space or turn into robots?

Sometimes heroes teach Sunday school or lead a youth group. Or it’s a friend’s mother who becomes the mother you never had. Sometimes a hero is disguised as a scout leader or a den mother or a summer league coach.

Everyone knows one.

I had Twila and Bette and Shirley, Walter and Russell and Harold. These people showed up and showed me how to be a winner and a loser. They encouraged and consoled, motivated and disciplined. They came early, they stayed late, and in the end, they gained trust, offered praise, and taught teamwork.

It’s a very good superpower.

What about the educator who makes the decision to be more than a teacher? Men and women who take the time to look into a child’s heart and see who they really are? My superheroes were Mrs. Debolt, Mrs. Tanner, Mrs. Hamilton and Coach Enlow.

Each of these memorable educators taught me so much more than reading, writing and free throwing. These teachers were tough on me and must have seen something in me that I had never seen myself.

Maybe teachers have x-ray vision.

When I talk about my heroines, I have to include the community of women who helped me grow. As a child, my mother’s friends watched over me, acting like my mother when my mother was not around. This community of women came to family weddings and family funerals and showed up in other places when I least expected them.

Evelyn and Dot, Vera and Ernestine, Janice and a silver-haired lady named Connie Cox. These women changed my world by inserting themselves into it. All the days of my life, this strong and wise tribe wanted me to know that they saw me and knew me.

They seemed to read my thoughts.

I had former bosses who taught me more about life than about a job. Clyde and Wendell, Bill and John put themselves in other people’s shoes and showed me why it was important. Sometimes work isn’t about numbers – it’s about how you make people feel.

It’s a powerful super power to have.

So yes, Ivan, I know superheroes with superpowers. Heroes who come when you call and come when you don’t. Normal human beings with x-ray vision in your heart or mind readers who know your mind long before you do. A village of women who have mobilized to improve their village, one girl at a time.

I know something about heroes.

At least enough to know that every hero in my life has the super power of disguise. The superheroes I know are not Hollywood stars, sportsmen or internet sensations. They are life-sized heroes dressed as teachers, city leaders and community members.

Just like you.

It’s easy to complain about long lines or empty shelves or the cost of goods from China. Anyone can do it. Choose instead to be the difference in someone’s life; the nice word, the outstretched hand or the person who introduces himself. Be the constant, be the constant, be the one someone can rely on. Stand up when you can, give when you can, and believe in each other.

That’s what I call a superpower.

You can reach Lorry at [email protected]


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