Superheroes In Training

Finding their Superpowers

Kids want to help

You may have read my previous blog about getting children involved around the house. Not in a sweatshop kinda way – more in a “being important and needed” way. Kids want to help.

My two intrepid Superheroes in Training are my current testing ground – Super Mum has agreed to allow me to write about my observations. Master 5 and Master 8 are excited to be Superheroes in Training, and since our initial discussion over dinner, have brought up the subject on many occasions, much to my surprise. My perhaps cynical view was that most kids would perhaps prefer to NOT be involved in household chores. How wrong was I?!

Well, let me share a recent experience with my little Superheroes in Training. They are exploring and talking and working out what their Superpowers are, and it’s a joy to watch.

Super Mum was getting some new carpet put down at her house, which included all of the bedrooms. She asked her Superhero in Disguise to come and help move stuff out of the rooms before the carpet went down (when the children were away), and then again to return possessions to the room once the carpet had been laid.

The kids had watched much of the carpet-laying activity during the day, and when I arrived, there was much excited chatter about the process and how fabulous the new carpet looked. There was crap all over the floor on both the old carpet and new carpet. Dust and staples and little tiny bits of foam adorned the entire house, but the tradies had returned the heavy furniture to its original position thank goodness!

As I was dragging out the vacuum cleaner, Master 8 asks if he can do the vacuuming. I have to admit to being a bit gobsmacked, and as such, didn’t respond as quickly as I perhaps should have. Before I can gather my thoughts and respond, he tells me that he’s a Superhero in Training, and how is he going to find what his Superpowers are if he doesn’t help and try things out?

This is logic that is hard to deny, and shortly afterwards he is slowly and painstakingly moving through the house sucking up all of the grime that was making the lovely carpet look not-quite-so lovely. It was a little painful to watch, because most adults would be able to complete the job in about a quarter of the time, but it was so worth it! Kids want to help.

In the meantime, Master 5 had vigorously agreed with his older brother about finding his Superpower, and was bringing his bedroom contents back up the stairs – one small box at a time. When I started helping him he objected strongly, declaring that he wanted to do it himself. Again, I was gobsmacked. That little fella made about 20 trips up and down those stairs, and sat in his room carefully returned things from whence they had come. Kids want to help.  Kids want to help

Over the next couple of hours I watched both Master 5 and Master 8 flexing their Superpower muscles. I also watched them proudly strutting around having done “grown up jobs”. And what a fun activity the whole project turned into. It’s amazing how a boring chore can become exciting when you change the context into Superhero-Speak!

The moral of the story? Well, I don’t really have one, and I dislike it when people tell me what to do, so I’m not going to do it to you! Kids want to help.

If you have a story about young ones finding their household Superpowers, I’d love to hear about it. If you like this blog, please give it the thumbs up below. If you dislike it, give me a thumbs down. It’s better out than in!

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Getting Children Involved

Getting Children Involved

If you read the newspaper, watch the news, watch television of any description, are on the internet (presumably, if you are reading this) or speak to people, you will have noticed that there is a lot of chatter about generational differences. Getting children involved – what has that got to do with the price of fish? The discussion centres around the differences between youth, adults and more senior members of our society. Baby Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and the sometimes referred to Gen Z (but that sounds too final to me).

The problems. The lack of respect. The entitlement attitudes. Who wants to work with who, and who is the best person to manage your social media presence. Who’s happy, and why? It sometimes seems a little like one-upmanship to me – *blows raspberry* “Nah nah nah nah! My generation is more [insert desirable quality] than yours!”.

Perhaps there should be a little more chatter about what we have in common? Perhaps there should be more discussion about how inter-generational differences can enhance our work environment and our social strata? Perhaps it doesn’t matter if young people can attend to 17 different electronic stimuli, and older people know how to make 12 different nutritional meals using vegemite? Perhaps the price of progress is that we don’t necessarily understand “difference”?

WARNING: Personal Statement following. I believe that one characteristic that all generations have in common, is the need to belong to community. The need to be needed. Being integral to one’s people gives everyone purpose and a sense of belonging. A sense of community starts with family – of whatever description – and this is where we all develop a drive or an aversion to being needed. Getting children involved could be one of the fundamental building blocks to this.

I like getting children involved. They’re fun. They follow you around asking a million questions. They want to learn. They want your attention. They ask “why?” so many times that you are eventually compelled to actually think about why you do something a certain way.

The other day I was talking to my two little Superheroes in Training, sons of Super Mum. Master 5 and Master 8. They are fascinated by this blogging business, and because I have business cards and a website, they are convinced that I am going to become famous and “be on TV”. Master 5 asks if he can be a Superhero as well. “Of course!” I respond, “you are already – we just need to work out what your Super Powers are. At the moment you’re a Superhero in Training”. This was the start of our discussion about getting children involved.

Master 8 (mostly interested in the fame part): “Will you blog about us?”

“Yes”.Getting Children Involved

Master 8: “We can be the Superhero in Training Captains!”

I take this statement as implicit permission to repeat things that they say, objections that they express and insightful observations that they make.

And so a blogging category is born.

What are some ways that we can find out the Super Powers of our little Superheroes in Training? Getting children involved – is it really important? How can we involve them in our day-to-day minutiae so that they know they are needed? How do we find the balance between creating a virtue sweatshop in our home and doing everything for our little ones? What do they WANT to do, and what should they be PAID to do? What are they capable of doing, and at what ages? Do we need to buy a bigger First Aid kit and a fire extinguisher? Did we really walk through the snow for 2 hours every morning delivering a pail of milk before school when we were their age?!

These are all questions that will be explored in Superheroes in Training. Although I do recommend that you DO buy a bigger First Aid kit.

As a first suggestion, the mere act of discussing the concept of Superheroes in Training resulted in a lively discussion around the dining table. There was much enthusiasm around pointing out the chores that the boys currently do. Getting children involved should begin with a discussion.

“You could talk about stacking the dishwasher!”

“What about tidying the playroom?”

“I’m always helping you in the garden aren’t I Mama?”

“Does this mean that we will get paid?” (“No”, was the answer to this by the way…).

Is this a blog category that interests you? Do you have children? Do you know children? Are you old-school or are you more laissez faire? I would encourage vigorous debate, so feel free to comment at will. And if you are so inclined, please give this post a thumbs up or thumbs down (below).

Also, please check out the new Unsung Superhero Award here and share it with your networks. We can’t reward these Unsung Superheroes if we don’t find out about them! All stories welcome! In addition, if you’d like to follow the Business Challenge, CLICK HERE and read about the trials and tribulations of starting Superhero in Disguise.

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