The Wonder Twins and Undervaluing Our Children...

It’s not easy feeling small and undervalued; not in real life, and not in heroic stories. Being overlooked is the constant lot of sidekicks, a reality they probably expect—they’re still in training, after all. The Wonder Twins have to deal with this underwhelming attitude in the 70’s cartoon, Super Friends, and other DC shows they appear in. Most of the time, it seems like they are tagging along with the real heroes, even though they are part of the team. They’re kids, they’re only effective if they’re within physical reach of one another, and by most accounts in the fandom world, they’re fairly lame. I’ll be honest; if I was in need of a hero and the Wonder Twins showed up, I’d try to be polite, but I’d be super disappointed. And worried. If Children Believe in the Impossible, We Can Too Like the Wonder Twins, kids in general are sometimes overlooked or undervalued. They are small, weak, and needy. They can’t do a lot on their own and need almost constant supervision. They’re not the kind of people you’d send out on big missions, much less to the grocery store on their own. But, kids also have a lot to offer—even when they’re little. Just by being themselves, they have value. Their parents love them because they are theirs. They reflect truth on such a pure, unfiltered basis, that if they were listened to more frequently, they could teach adults a ton. Their imaginations make them as super as the Wonder Twins. As shapeshifters, the Twins can become anything from an elephant to a bucket of water, and if you ask a little kid, so can she. Nothing is impossible for little ones. Children inform my faith, too. God says that nothing is...

Ant-Man, the Wasp, and Shrinking Seriousness Down to Size...

For some reason, our society equates responsibility with seriousness. Humour and light-heartedness are often seen as marks of irresponsibility or childishness, undesirable in a mature adult. It’s true that too much play and too little work can be harmful, but I’ve found that making time for some fun is essential. I have a hard time giving myself permission to take a break. I enjoy working hard, but I feel like I can’t relax unless all the work is done—and there is always more work that could be done. Once I wake up in the morning, I start planning ways to make my day “productive,” and I end up disappointed at night if I didn’t accomplish everything I planned. Stress, low self-esteem, and anxiety are just a few of the drawbacks that can result if I don’t put on the brakes occasionally. I love that the Ant-Man movie is plain fun, and it doesn’t neglect great action scenes or engaging characters to be that way. Ant-Man and the Wasp continues this tradition, and for those two hours in the theater, I felt like the movie gave me permission to take life a little less seriously. Ant-Man and the Wasp’s jokes are reminders that, while we’re desperately “adulting” through life, humour is not a luxury; it’s vital for creating a healthy balance of work and play. Surviving “One of Those Days” After receiving a new, “work-in-progress” Ant-Man suit, Scott struggles to get the size regulator working properly. When he and Hope sneak into Cassie’s school, the regulator malfunctions and Scott is stuck at the size of a small child. Instead of giving up, Scott grabs a child’s jacket from a Lost and Found box and uses it as a disguise, allowing him and Hope to reach...

If Thor and Loki Can Reconcile, So Can We...

It’s an understatement to say that Thor and Loki have a strained relationship in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Loki stabbing Thor during their childhood, after luring him in by transforming himself into a snake, seems like nothing after his later betrayals. After they became adults, Loki tries to steal Thor’s birthright as King of Asgard, and let’s not forget the continual lies and manipulation by the trickster god. I’m no stranger to sibling rivalry, but my brother and I never moved much beyond the “Mom! He’s bothering me!” stage. Though neither of us were in line for a kingship like Thor and Loki, their motivations feel familiar. Thor is the older brother. For his whole life he’s been told that he’ll be the one to take the throne and rule the kingdom. He may not be a born leader, but he was born to lead. I identify with that—a responsibility I didn’t ask for. Older than my only brother by six years, I tried to notice him as little as possible. If ever I turned my attention to him, it felt like I had to slow down so he could keep up. What ten-year-old is interested in playing games with a four-year-old, after all? Thor’s Inattention When we’re first introduced to him, Thor avoids any responsibility for others, including his younger brother. How might his first film have been different if he had treated Loki like an equal from the start? Against the wishes of his father, Odin, Thor takes his friends to attempt the conquest of Jotunheim—and Thor just assumes Loki will follow without complaint (he does, but not because of the loyalty that Thor assumes). Loki’s actions are his own, but Thor could have looked outside of his own interests. Focused on...

Words of Encouragement for You Incredible Parents...

When Elastigirl says she has to “save the family by leaving it,” her words hit me right in the feels—my heart broke every time I left my kids to go to work when they were small. Of course, that was mostly because they would stand at the window screaming and crying. I later found out that as soon as I was out of sight, they would go about their business like I never existed. Little monsters. But, that’s what kids do. Elastigirl knew that in order to make a path for herself, her husband, her children, and all supers to have the option of a super future, she needed to be away from her kids for a time. And that’s where Mr. Incredible comes in. Mr. Incredible and the Stay-At-Home Parent When my family and I were discussing Incredibles 2 after seeing it in theaters recently, my boys felt that it was the “Elastigirl Movie” because she did all the heroic stuff. They saw Mr. Incredible as having a very minor role in the whole thing. I couldn’t believe it. Yes, Elastigirl was shown in superhero garb fighting bad guys more than the rest of the family, but to me, what Mr. Incredible did was far more heroic. Parenting is heroic, even if our children don’t see it that way. My kids don’t have an appreciation for the challenge that being a stay-at-home parent brings. And I know why—they think they’re an absolute dream to be with. Of course, I think they’re right; there’s nowhere I’d rather be than hanging out with them (most of the time). But, they only remember the nice times from the children’s perspective. They have no sense of parental angst, the terror of not knowing what you’re doing—most of...