“What’s Your Superpower?”
On the first day of Ms. Heinbeck’s kindergarten class, little Johnny came running into the classroom. The arms of his coat were tied loosely around his neck, and he was making ‘whooossh’ sounds while his hands were thrust out in front of him.
Ms. Heinbeck stopped Johnny at the door with a smile. “Hello,” she began, “and who might you be?” Johnny looked up at her and smiled back.
He then said, “you have to guess. But you can ask one question.”
“Ok, what’s your superpower?”
Johnny’s smile grew even wider, and he ran around her and said, “I can fly, can you see me?”
Laughing with joy, Ms. Heinbeck replied, “Oh yes, yes, I see you Superman. Welcome. Would you find a seat on the rug; so, we can begin?”
Johnny (aka Superman) did as he was requested after a few more lazy circles around the room.
‘Today is a good day,’ Ms. Heinbeck thought as they started to get to know each other and learn as a community.
Each day over the next few months began the same way. Johnny came in with a new superpower and Ms. Heinbeck guessed who he was. Then the whole class set about engaging in the day’s lessons. However, as Ms. Heinbeck got to know the class, she witnessed something else. Johnny, in whatever superhero persona he was that day, always was the first to help other students. The first to include other people in a game. The first to offer a hug or a kind word. All of this brought a special joy to Ms. Heinbeck, one that no one knew she needed.
For, you see Ms. Heinbeck had become saddened by the school system and the students, almost jaded. In fact, her teaching had become bland and uninspiring because of so much that happened throughout the pandemic. Now, every day seemed to drag on with the school’s focus on testing and the students’ lack of participation which was disheartening. So much so that Ms. Heinbeck had considered quitting at the end of the year. That was until Johnny came in and started to fly around the classroom with joy at just being accepted for who he was.
Then one Monday, Johnny came walking in just like everyone else. Sad and not a glimmer of any superhero to be seen. Still, Ms. Heinbeck stopped him at the door with a smile and said, “hello and who might you be?”
Johnny glancing up started to say, “it’s me…” but, Ms. Heinbeck cut him off mid-stream.
“Wait, I’m sorry. I forgot. I have to guess, right?”
“No, ma’am,” he continued. “It’s me – just me. I had a birthday over the weekend and now I gotta be a big boy. Not a superhero. So, it’s just me…”
Ms. Heinbeck understood but did not let him finish before asking, “what’s your superpower?”
The interaction seemed to confuse Johnny and make him all the more upset as he had really enjoyed “being” these superheroes with Ms. Heinbeck. Yet, he had to grow up now and be a big boy. So, he just stood there and gazed at her, unsure how to respond.
Ms. Heinbeck did not miss a beat as she continued, ”hmmm, you are not telling me your power; so, it must be one of the best powers in the whole world. It’s got to be the one which can heal hearts. Make friends. Bring joy to everyone they meet. A power like that can welcome and accept everyone. If that’s your superpower, then never let it go because it’s the only one that matters in this world and the most powerful one of all. Does that sound like your power?” She asked.
Johnny stopped and thought for a moment and figured it would be ok to play for one more day. So, he nodded his head and smiled.
Ms. Heinbeck smiled back and said with a joy in her voice that had been gone for a very long time, “Oh wow, I think I know what your superpower is. It’s ‘Love’ and that would make you Johnny the superhero who saved me.” Johnny (aka Johnny) smiled even wider though not fully understanding as he threw his arms around her before they began the lessons of the day.
Johnny never did let go of that superpower, even though he became a big boy too.
May the Light of God’s Love fill your hearts in this Advent season and throughout all the struggles we face every day. Not only that but may we also ALL be the Light of Love that someone else needs in this world for this is the greatest superpower which God has given to each of us. Amen.
Your pastor and teacher
I love this story and not even just because it has my name in it. 😉
A beautiful story, and that care for others is what I saw today when the woman at Cellar Dwellas trusted me and donated to the immigrants in Methuen.