Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
It’s parent-teacher conference week so yesterday afternoon Aeris was with me at work. She decided to reorganize my top drawer and I must say it’s the least cluttered it’s ever been. Prior to putting on her Pepper Potts hat (should I say heels?) we did her homework which entailed her reading a book to me and then answering a worksheet of questions. Aeris doesn’t always have the attention span required for real reading comprehension but she did very well with this book. It was called “I’d Like To Be” and was some 20 pages of different careers interspersed with princesses and mermaids (which, I suppose are careers to some lucky people). The last page was blank and Aeris was asked to fill in what she would ‘like to be’ and draw a picture. She wrote “I wat to be a superhero becos I wod sav the world.”
The questions were all multiple choice along the lines of:
Why does the cowboy sleep under the stars?
(a) He likes to always wear his hat.
(b) He needs to keep the cows safe.
(c) He wants to be an astronaut.
All of these answers might be true but one is the most likely.
So we get to the question:
Which of the following can I be when I grow up?
(a) A zookeeper
(b) A mermaid
(c) A superhero
Aeris had me repeat it twice and then selected c saying “That’s what I said in the book.” I, of course, knew that wasn’t the answer she was supposed to circle. But I couldn’t argue with her choice. She’s six and she’s allowed her imaginings. And because she hesitated I knew she considered all the answers and I believe she understood what the ‘real’ answer was but chose her answer because it’s what she’d written and it’s what she wanted. But also: it’s not impossible the cowboy wants to be an astronaut and it’s not impossible Aeris can be a superhero.
See — she didn’t write I want to be a superhero so I can fly or shoot lasers or be super strong or swing through the city or read people’s minds. She didn’t say I want to be a superhero so I am rich or famous or popular or special. She said I want to be a superhero so I would save the world. That’s what a superhero is to Aeris. And as long as she believes it, I have no doubt she can be it.