Five values, characteristics and lessons parents can glean from The Avengers and instill in their children.
What makes a superhero so great? According to our kids, superheroes are awesome because of their superpowers and their ability to crush opponents. But as parents, we know that what really makes them amazing is their willingness to use those powers to better society. When they’re able to balance their awe-inspiring abilities with selflessness and a desire for good is when superheroes, ultimately, become figures of legend.
These five values, characteristics and lessons might be a good start to raising our own virtuous superheroes.
1. Iron Man’s leadership: Without a true superpower, Iron Man needs his protective suit to combat the powers of his opponents. However, it’s really his ingenuity and leadership that steers the Avengers. Without Iron Man, the Avengers are only as strong as their individual powers. Being a leader takes courage and forward-thinking vision, values that parents hope to instill in their children. Iron Man teaches us that to innovate and succeed, you must be willing to fail…and try again. Although his suit is impressive, it’s Iron Man’s determination and sheer intelligence that makes him a superhero to us.
2. Hulk’s inner battle: Hulk’s thunderclap can demolish buildings, make people deaf or put out blazing fires; he can casually jump across miles or even into the Earth’s atmosphere. Hulk may have no physical weakness, yet many believe that Hulk’s ultimate weakness is himself. To be in constant battle with your inner demons can limit the powers you’re born with. Teach your mini-superheroes to harness their innate strength and control compulsive behavior by engaging in positive self-talk and delayed gratification. As parents, we should model this behavior by being kind to our own body and self-esteem. When your actions, thoughts and behaviors stay true to your values, the enemy doesn’t stand a chance.
3. Captain America’s loyalty: Captain America may not have actual powers, but as a soldier he is the best. His super strength and agility aid him in his battles. (And how awesome is his shield?!) But Captain America’s greatest “power” is the loyalty he has for his country and the Avengers team. Loyalty breeds trust, an essential component for any thriving team, and it’s true that the Avengers would be less unified without Captain America’s support. As leaders of our team (or family), parents can learn from Captain America’s steadfast loyalty. Fostering trust by being consistent and dependable teaches our children to rely on their team — their family — instead of peers or otherwise negative influences.
4. Thor’s decision making: Among his strengths is Thor’s ability to make the right choice. Even when asked to combat his own brother, Thor did so because it was the right choice for the greater good. Raising children who know right from wrong, who have strong morals and values, as well as the courage to act according to those beliefs, are goals of many parents. Keep family virtues at the heart of all you do, and your children will learn to lean on their super decision making skills.
5. Avengers are stronger together: If nothing else, the Avengers are a team, united to face challenges together and in pursuit of common goals. Although their superpowers are impressive individually, the heroes are most strong when they’re working together. That’s what a family is, too. As parents, we should learn our children’s strengths and emphasize those. We should hone their innate skill set by challenging them to be better, while remaining true to the values we find most important. And, with age-appropriate tasks (helping around the house, being in service to others), they can help you accomplish your family goals and also learn the value of teamwork.
Parents can find lessons for their children anywhere, even under the masks of their favorite superheroes. Although the Avengers are meant to entertain, plenty of good values and characteristics can be taught from their experiences too.
Photo Credit: Vanessa Bell