I went to my second mentoring session at the Harlem K-8 school that I do mentoring at this morning, and the first project we worked on was to create our own super hero. Every person, mentor or mentee, had to draw their super hero and list down the three powers they’d want their ideal super hero to have. I thought a lot about my super hero and how the image of the super hero has changed a lot for me over the course of my life. When I was little, like other kids, I was inspired by cartoons like Batman and Superman, people who could fly, have super human strength, or could become invisible or do time travel. As I’ve gotten older and I think about super hero qualities that would be amazing today, I think… how would the world be if we had a super hero who could end all pain and suffering? What if we had a super hero who could fly and teleport to places instantly to cure everything from cancer to AIDS to depression and anxiety? American insurance companies would go broke and doctors and nurses would go idle, but the world would be a happier place.
We went around the room sharing our ideas. When we came to me, everyone (at least the adults in the room) listened intently, and the elementary school teacher leading the session looked like she was on the verge of tears as I explained why I wanted this. “So many people across the world suffer from visible and invisible pains every day that we might be completely unaware of, so it would be great if we had a super hero who could cure and heal all of their wounds and pains and sorrows.” Some of the kids were silenced completely.
It would have been great if there was a super hero who could have cured Ed… because that’s what it would have taken to help him — a real super hero.