Superheroes in curriculum

I AM a Superhero!

As a child we all have imagined, aspired and pretended to be a superhero. In fact we have argued, fought and done ‘katti’ over being one in a game more than we have done it for anything else in our childhood. But, as we grew, we realised we are normal humans with no superhero powers. But, the childhood belief and hope passed to our children. Our children can also come to the same realisation what we realised, or they can continue with that hope and belief that they can in fact be super heroes. How??? It will all depend on how we identify and define a superhero.

Interact with any child and ask who is a superhero, and you will get one consistent answer – superhero can fly. Interact and question little further and you will learn that superheroes can fly because they have a mask and a band on wrist or a cape. They can fly with that! Now, for a child, this is a very dangerous understanding of the superhero. We have seen many many instances of children believing this and attempting like their superhero once they get these masks and cape etc. This has ended up in children harming themselves either physically while trying the acts they see their superheroes doing with their accessories on; or emotionally by not being able to be like one. Both, lead to the same learning for them – they are not and can’t be a superhero. But, this is not true, and shall change.

If we look at all superhero content, there are some common aspects to it. There is some evil or bad, which could be a person or a situation. Superhero is mostly a normal guy who always stands against this evil to help and save others from it. To fight this evil, he ‘awakens’ his or her hidden superpowers with the help of some accessory. Also, he never hides or runs away leaving the people who need help. And, of course he never troubles others or creates problems for others. He is always someone whom all can trust, and believe to help them in times of need. Aren’t these the qualities we all have heard and tried to make our children learn?

The qualities of a superhero are not alien to us. They are available for anyone to imbibe. The superhero powers are within us waiting to be let out. It just needs the mask of our willingness and the cape of our courage to bring them out. These qualities cannot be taught with a chalk and board. These have to be lived and modelled to be passed to our children. Anytime and every time we go out to help someone in need, or do something for others without our own material motive, we are doing a superhero act. If we are too busy or scared to stop and help someone lying hurt on the road, or show indifference to someone getting abused and being ‘manhandled’ on the road – we are indeed joining the team of the evil. And this is what our children learn. It is then that they also hide behind the excuse of being a common man and not a superhero when they grow up. And then the superheroes only live in fiction.

It took a resolve to stand up and face those who pushed Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi out of a coach, to become Mahatama Gandhi. That courage to resolve and fight for the right made a superhero out of a common human. Can we also hold on to this courage and resolve to guide our children to always be a superhero, and let it grow in leaps and bounds as they grow?

It is only then that we will live with superheroes. We will be a superhero.

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