Faith Formation Focus May 2015
Calling all Superheros and Superheroines!!
It would be interesting to know how many of us, as children, pinned the corner of a towel around our neck and tried to run fast enough to make our “capes” fly out behind us. Or did you achieve the same end, with less effort, by jumping off the steps or a banister? If you are female, do you remember twirling around in circles in order to become Wonder Woman? I do. (Wonder Woman was, incidentally, one of the very first feminist figures–created in the 1940’s, during WWll, to empower women. She was the only female superhero for a long time.)
Superheroes and heroines have abilities that young children can only dream of. They are brave, strong, fast and always able to save the day and help people out –just in the nick of time. Although young people do not start out in life with these kinds of qualities, they do possess strong imaginations, which enable them to pretend that these powers are theirs–and thereby feel good about themselves. Research shows that children can increase their self-esteem through imaginary play and that playing out brave and strong roles, through the use of imagination, helps children feel more in control in the challenges of real life.
The definition of a Superhero, according to author Don M. Winn, “is one who uses his or her extraordinary powers for the betterment of the world. A superhero spreads hope in the world, has a strong moral code he or she lives their life by, believes in good over evil and doesn’t care what other people think of them as much as they care about doing their job and helping people.” That definition coincides with a lot of UU principles that we try to instill in the hearts of our children. As Unitarian Universalists, actually as human beings living on this planet, who among us has not wanted to thwart the forces of evil and be strong in the face of adversity? If only we as adults could keep these ideals alive with the same passion and energy that our kids do when they are being Superheroes.
This year at UUCB Summer Camp during the first week of June ( 3rd 4th and 5th from 9 to 3), we are going to give our kids a chance to decide what kind of Superhero/heroine they are–based on their own Superpowers (gifts, talents and interests) and their own Supervison (ideas and dreams.) We will meet some incredible and amazing UU Superheroes (like King John Sigismund and Clara Barton. And we will talk about real superpowers, such as courageous love and gratitude for all our sidekicks.
I already have a number of teens and Middle School counselors that have stepped forward to lead Super Stations that feature stories, crafts, physical fitness challenges, and big group games (kickball, relays, water parties.) Now all we need are the actual superheroes themselves– children ages 4 to 12. Registration forms are at the office counter and the deadline to register is May 17.th The cost is $75 per participant, ($25 for Middle School counselors), daily Super Snacks and capes included. Please let your children join us if you can!!
Janen Wright —Director of Lifespan Faith Formation