The Big-Brained Superheroes' Handbook: Part 1 of X

Super Shield

One thing we learn as Big-Brained Superheroes is that there are a lot of “Part _ of X"s in our lives.  That’s because knowing the value of "X” means we’re done.  We’ve solved the problem.  The end.  But when it comes to living and learning and living and learning and living and learning and…a Big-Brained Superhero’s work is never done. And that’s just the way we like it.

So, with that in mind, and with this school year’s first Club meeting coming up on October 1st, let’s prepare a bit by reviewing/revising at least some of the never ending Big-Brained Superheroes’ Handbook:

Rule #1: With great power comes great responsibility. (you may have heard that one somewhere before)  As Big-Brained Superheroes, we try to be constantly aware of our effect on the world and to expect at least as much from ourselves as we do from others.  This is never more true than when working with our younger BBSC members.

Rule #1 manifests in several ways: First, when we’re looking for a behavior from someone else, we should first check ourselves to verify that we are modeling that desired behavior.  And the corollary to this is that when we’re looking to change a behavior in someone else, we should first make sure we’re not modeling that very behavior. An example: If we don’t want our young Big-Brained Superheroes to yell at each other, we should avoid yelling at them.  Instead, let’s try to, first, use our Willpower to restrain our own impulses, and then, use our Empathy, Respect, and Creativity to find other ways to conduct ourselves and others.

Some options for managing un-Big-Brained Superhero-like behaviors:

  1. Ask the question: “What would happen if you used your Adaptability/Teamwork/Kindness…superpower here instead?”
  2. Have our young BBSC member restate The Big-Brained Superheroes Club oath: “I, Big-Brained Superhero, do passionately promise to try hard, be kind, and have fun!”.
  3. In a tense situation, have our young BBSC member step away for a moment to go hang out in her limbic system and then have her come back and restate The Big-Brained Superheroes Club oath.

Another manifestation of Rule #1 is that we Big-Brained Superheroes must, at all times, be aware of the language we’re using.  Along those lines, The Big-Brained Superheroes Club has taken the drastic step of semi-banning certain words: smart/stupid and easy/hard. Not only have we found these words to have little meaning in the context of a BBSC meeting, they’re often used as weapons, which inevitably do more harm than good.

Some methods for avoiding these semi-banned words:

  1. If a Big-Brained Superhero is reluctant to engage in a daunting task, instead of “You’re smart/this is easy; you can do this,” try, “Didn’t you bring your Sense of Adventure superpower today?”
  2. If a Big-Brained Superhero has accomplished a daunting task, instead of “You’re so smart,” try instead, “Way to use your Persistence/Adaptability…superpower”.
  3. If the “e” or the “h” word happens to rear its ugly head, consider responding with, "Everything is ‘easy’ once you know how to do it. Everything is ‘hard’ until you know how to do it.”

In short, our dictionary of superpowers is intended to bring some more precision into our language and, as a result, into our Club’s value system.  A Big-Brained Superhero’s goal is to Always Be Superpowering.  Because we’re control freaks, we focus on process (which is more in our control) rather than product (which is less in our control).  And being as precise as possible in our language enables us to be as precise as possible in our actions (this point is discussed nicely here).  Or, to continue the analogy with Captain America’s shield, we should think of our superpowers as discernibly discrete tools that get stronger and stronger the more we use and refine them.

To be continued…