“If you could choose a super power, what would it be and why?”
The boys have asked me this question so many times. It’s a fun dinner-table conversation, usually, and their answers are generally the standard superhero traits: super speed, super strength, ability to fly, invisibility, instant healing, etc.
I usually end up wrestling with the question. Those answers all sound excellent and any one of them would be good, but it seems to me that one would need at least two of those powers to be truly effective. What good is it if you can fly but don’t have any strength to help out when you arrive where the trouble is? Same with invisibility: other than gathering information, I can’t think of how that would be useful without having another super power to back it up.
What superpower do I want?
I want the ability to levitate.
I was thinking about this last night and early this morning. I was wrestling with a bunch of thoughts about rape, sexual assault and harassment. I’d had some conversations online the last few days stemming from the Supreme Court hearings and was tumbling the different views so many shared around in my head trying to find some consistency.
The conversation about rape and sexual assault angers me. It has for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recall walking out of the movie “The Accused” with Jodie Foster back in the late 1980’s because I couldn’t watch the scene where she gets gang-raped behind a bar. I’ve known many women (and even a few men) over the years who have shared stories of being assaulted. It’s so sad to hear and it angers me that it happened to them.
What angers me more is when people try to make excuses for it. “It’s just boys being boys.” “She was drunk and provoked it.” “She shouldn’t have dressed that way.” “Something that only happened for a moment shouldn’t affect the rest of his life.” I’ve heard all of those in the last year or two as yet another assault story plays out in the news.
If you know me you know I don’t use that word lightly, but it’s the only word that seems appropriate here. Nobody ever deserves to be sexually assaulted. Nobody. And when it does happen, they need all the care and understanding the world can bring to help them heal, but, unfortunately, the world often turns against them and tries to drown them out, possibly because the stories are so uncomfortable to hear.
Rape and sexual assault are more about power than they are about sex. It’s someone pushing their desire on somebody else. It’s about dominance. It’s about forcing someone into a submissive position. I’m no psychologist, but I suspect it stems from insecurity on the part of the attacker.
What super power do I desire for myself and my sons?
The ability to levitate.
I want to raise sons who are spiritually and emotionally secure enough to have in their hearts the desire to lift others up.
I want to raise sons who are confident in themselves and seek to build confidence in others.
I want to raise sons who aren’t threatened by the thought of females being fully-equal and fully-capable partners in their personal and professional relationships.
I want to raise sons who are empathetic, compassionate listeners and a safe person someone who has been assaulted can turn to for help.
I want to raise sons who will stand for what is right even when so many voices try to make excuses for the wrong.
And you know what?
As I sit here and write this it dawns on me that I already have the power to levitate. I have the power to lift others. I have the power to teach my sons the same.
It doesn’t come in a flash of lightning and rolling thunder.
It comes from slow, steady, day-to-day coaching and nurturing.
It comes from modelling that behavior.
It comes from being patient and listening and forgiving.
It comes from love.
I already have this power.
And so do you.