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Friday, November 1, 2013

7 Super Sized Life Lessons From Our Favorite Superheroes!

As a little girl I spent most of my time playing with Cabbage Patch dolls or with my nose pressed between the pages of a Babysitter's Club book. Sure, He-Man and She-Ra were on my radar, but I was nowhere near the superhero aficionado that my 1st grader is. When your child develops a healthy interest in something its only natural that you dig in too. Comic book buffs aren't the only ones getting caught up in fantastic feats and fearless heroics. The cinematic success of classic characters have taken Marvel and DC Comics mainstream. Now larger than life superheroes are everyone's latest obsession. Not only is my six year old son fascinated with the super human icons, but my baby girl and the whole family have been sucked in by the brave men and women who save the day with style and sass!
We catch summer blockbusters, add trilogies to our DVD collection, order life size wall stickers for Nigel's room and plan fun hero themed Halloween costumes and birthday parties. I've found this superhero stuff has a little more to it than custom capes, evil villains and impressive gadgets. Beyond their incredible strength, speed and epic awesomeness are lessons that can build your child's character and confidence. Some of our family's favorite superheroes teach the young and young at heart about courage, commitment, justice and more.

Spider Man aka Peter Parker 

By day Peter is an unassuming, geeky tween with a penchant for photography and Mary Jane, but thanks to a radioactive spider bite he's a web slinging, wall scaling, local crime fighter.

The Lesson: Say it with me ... With great power comes great responsibility. Peter has learned the hard way that when power goes to his head, he loses sight of what's most important. He's lost loved ones along the way and though it hasn't been easy, he understands that he can be a benefit to his community. Through hardships and grief we must always press on and and remember that our gifts are to be used to make the world a better place.

The X-Men
Led by the omniscient Professor Xavier, this motley crew of mutants use awe inspiring abilities to protect the world from evil doers in and outside of their ranks.

The Lesson: Being unique is incredible - not awkward. If you're struggling find a mentor that nurtures your talents and helps you realize that despite how much people misunderstand you - you are perfectly made. Storm, Wolverine, Magneto, Rogue, and scores of teenage X-Men outcasts have personal pains and individual journies. The storylines explore alienation and prejudice, and they show their audience the devastation of fear mongering. Most importantly, X-Men teach fans that being different is to be celebrated.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

What's old is new again and now my children can enjoy these characters that I thought were pretty cool back in the day. I'm not the only one who still knows the theme song by heart, right? "They're the world's most fearsome fighting team; they're heroes in a half shell and they're green!" Evil Shredder is still around and so is the support of their adoptive dad, Splinter. Who'd have thought a human sized rat could be so lovable!? These turtle brothers use their martial art skills to mix it up with bad guys.

The Lesson: Family sticks together no matter our differences. Each of the teenage brothers have unique strengths and weaknesses. They never go about things the same way, but when in a pinch they always look out for one another. TMNT have each other's back and the support of their doting Dad. Ultimately, their best chance to defeat vicious enemies is with teamwork

*The Incredibles also teach a similar lesson.

Thor aka Thor Odinson, Prince of Asgar 

The God of Thunder and Lightning, Thor, is hunky in a Nordic Viking kind of way. He wields one of the greatest weapons ever made, the enchanted hammer Mjolnir. The Asgardian warrior is trained in the arts of battle, has immense fighting ability, super strength and scant vulnerabilities. In fact, Thor' s greatest weakness is his arrogance, part of the reason he was exiled to Earth to learn lessons in humility.

The Lesson: While on Earth, Thor is stripped of many of his powers. He is served a hefty piece of humble pie, but gains an appreciation for humanity and the simple sentiments we hold dear. The value in his story is the reminder that even the mightiest among us have room for development,  and the strongest have a duty to defend the weak. Before you can lead others, you must first learn how to lead yourself.

Wonder Woman aka Diana Prince
Possibly the most famous superheroine, Wonder Woman is a warrior princess who put unconventional fierce, savvy women on the comic book map.
She's a champion for gender equality. Plus, no one could tell me that the Lasso of Truth isn't one of the coolest superhero weapons ever created.

The Lesson: All you need is love.  She's as powerful as they come, but she has a special weapon for helping villains reform: compassion. "With it's great gift, I can change human character; I can make bad men good and weak women strong."

Iron Man aka Tony Stark 
We meet Tony Stark as a brilliant businessman known
as much for his playboy lifestyle and non existent moral compass as his technological innovations. After a near death experience with a weapon he designed he quite literally has a change of heart. Tony begins to see that he can contribute more to the world if he keeps his flair, but abandons some of his selfish ideologies.

The Lesson: Once Tony Stark becomes Iron Man we witness him evolve from a self consumed egomaniac into a philanthropist ready to champion for justice. Talk about letting that light inside of you shine!  We can be redeemed. It's never too late to become a person who cares more about others than he does himself. As an added bonus we see that scientists can be as cool as rockstars and lead pretty exciting lives!

The Green Lantern aka Hal Jordan 
Bad boy fighter pilot Hal Jordan always pushes the envelope. He abhors authority and lives on the edge, but still can't shake the bit of fear that holds him back from his true potential and sours his relationships. Once the power ring selects him as the first human in history to join Green Lantern Corps, our reluctant hero goes on to do great things for the good of the universe.

The Lesson: Whatever Green Lantern creates with his mind's eye, becomes reality. As a person who believes strongly in New Thought faith principles, I can relate to the theme that our thoughts give us ultimate power. Hal begins to visualize the solutions to his problems, internalize his capabilities and believe that he can turn figments of his imagination into fruition. The larger lesson is that our divine will is always strong enough to defeat our fears.

Superheroes are an inspiration to transcend our mortal limitations and become exceptional. Their adventures are sensational stories with more to teach than what's on the surface. Enjoy the thrills and have fun on the road to becoming a super YOU! Nigel and I wrote a little poem about it. Wanna hear it? Here it go!