A few weeks ago, I had the great honor of teaching kids in 4th and 5th grade. While working on ways to translate my teachings in a way that the kids could understand, I discovered a great analogy that would work for all of us, whether we are kids or kids at heart.
One of the subjects I wanted to touch on was bullying. The thought of someone being singled out because they are different and being treated less than is something that I really have a problem with. Why should anyone being treated less than? I wanted to convey to the kids that we all have our own special abilities. How could I do that without sounding like I was preaching at them? Then the idea came to me – The Avengers! They are all a group of superheroes that all have different powers. The Incredible Hulk cannot climb buildings but Spider-man can. However, if you had them arm wrestle, the Hulk would win no contest.
I tried to explain to the kids that is how each of us are. Some of us are good at art. Some of us are creative in other ways. Then again, some of us are good at math and science. In my city, they are painting large murals on several different sites. These require people who are amazing artists. They are also constructing several new building projects. These new buildings need engineers, architects and people who are good at math. They also happen to be redoing several streets to make them more friendly to walking and riding a bicycle. This takes people who are both good at math as well as some artistic people to help make them look good.
In The Avengers, all of the superheroes have amazing powers on their own. When a really tough challenge faces them, the only way they can win is if they work together and combine all of their talents. The same is true of people. As adults, we spend so much time focused on our differences that we seldom think how well those differences serve us. I encouraged the children to explore what they think their own superpower might be. I would encourage you to do the same thing. What speaks to your soul? What can you seem to do and get lost in it? Is it gardening? Can you be working in the garden and lose track of time? Maybe drawing helps you relax and gain a sense of inner peace. For me, it is writing. When I am at a local coffee shop writing away, I often look up to discover a whole new group of people sitting around me and on occasion a new staff behind the counter. I am so focused and absorbed in what I am writing the outside world seems to fade away.
Each of us, whether 5 or 85, have a superhero inside of us. We have something we just love to do. We owe it to ourselves and our group of Avengers to allow that superpower to grow and develop. We may think that it is ‘taking away from what we are supposed to do’. Really, what we are supposed to do in this life is become the best version of ourselves and share that with others. The easiest way to do this is to pursue our passions. Do what makes us feel alive and then look for opportunities for us to use that power to serve our fellow humans (or animals or the planet in general). It will fill us with joy and make the world an amazing place for everyone.