Long before I had children and even before I got married, I remember coming across this news headline which was horrifying. A child died by jumping off the roof pretending to fly like superman.
It was right there and then I decided that I was never going to introduce my children to any of the fictional heroes. EVER!
Fast forward a few years to 2016. Our little Mr was 2 years old. I would say we had done a pretty good job at keeping the promise I had made to myself many years ago. But somehow I saw the superhero culture start to seep into our lives. Couldn’t blame myself or anyone for that matter. After all this culture has become so pervasive in our society.
Who can blame anyone. After all everyone dreams of being brave, courageous, strong and fast. Mothers even coax their children to finish off their food or they wouldn’t be as strong as superman.
I will admit there was a time where I was really tempted to get my boy a cape and let him jump around pretending to be batman. No matter the shady parts of these characters, they still help out people in trouble and in the end save the day. And that’s just the thing all of us want our children to internalise. But the problem was these characters aren’t real. And if we look at their fictional lives that are portrayed in comics and movies, none of us would want to be like them.
Batman is a chronic loner, superman is awkward in social interactions and they hide all that behind a mask to save the world.
I wonder how our subconscious perceives all the messages being given about their personal lives?
Sorry I digressed.
So the point was, I figured it was a need in my child to want to be all those things which these superheroes entail. Brave, courageous and also magnanimous perhaps.
I wanted him to lookup to something which would stay with them for all of his many years to come.
I started telling and reading to him the stories of the Prophets.
And I tell you what, he got totally hooked. We have talked about Musa (PBUH) being able to part the sea with his staff, how the fire became cool for Ibrahim (PBUH), when the fish swallowed Yunus (PBUH) and also how Muhammad (PBUH) was saved from pursuing Quraysh when a spider spun a web at the opening of the cave where he was hiding. His favorite account is of Musa (PBUH) where his staff snake ate up all the smaller snakes made by Pharoah’s court magicians.
I can tell he savours all those details because there’s always that wide eyed, far flung look on his face as if he is trying to reenact all the details in his head.
Just the other day I was busy around the house doing my daily chores when I heard our little Mr humming to himself “I love Muhammad (SAW), he is my hero”. I hope when some aunty or uncle asks him what his favourite superhero is, he will say the same.
Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels