2020 has been a challenging year and our young people are suffering. So many are lonely, isolated, anxious, depressed and without purpose. The transition to adulthood has always been tough, but we’re in a totally different world today.
One of the things that’s most lacking today for our kids is a mission or epic adventure that gives meaning to life. It wasn’t always this way. 200 years ago kids worked on the family farm or in the family business. They had a mission and it gave them purpose and direction. By the age of 13, kids were seen more as adults than children. They were never adrift in an interim existence we now call the “teen years.” Is it any wonder that teens struggle and get into trouble?
Like most kids, I was enthralled with superheroes. I would pretend to be superman or space ghost and vanquish all the bad guys. Spiderman was actually my favorite and his “spidey-sense” was what I wanted most. The friendly neighborhood Spiderman was on an epic adventure to protect his community and especially the little guy. These superpowers provided meaning and mission in his life.
But his life was far from easy. He was a teenager and he struggled with bullying, loneliness, anxiety, parent problems and more. He lived in 2 worlds and struggled with his identity. In the new series of movies starring Tom Holland, Tony Stark serves as a guide or mentor for young Peter Parker. I love the scene from Captain America Civil War where Tony meets Peter for the first time.
A good friend of mine just gave the gift of an epic adventure to his grandson. On this adventure I serve as the guide and the journey begins with SUPERPOWER DISCOVERY. I visited Aidan in Baltimore and we spent time at the Compassion Center and met friends and co-workers. We ended the day with a nice dinner at Fells Point on the Inner Harbor. This was all about connection getting to know Aidan’s strengths from people and from observation. After dinner, Aidan took the Clifton Strengths Assessment and got a scientific examination of his strengths. Now we begin the process of going deeper in understanding his Top 5 Strengths and learning how to deploy them effectively on a mission to change the world.
Imagine your son or daughter discovering their superpowers and learning how to deploy them in the world for good. That sounds like an epic adventure to me.
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P.S. It turns out that one of my top Clifton Strengths is much like spider-sense. It’s called Empathy and it’s the ability to feel what other people feel. People just start opening up and pouring their lives out to me because they sense that I understand them. It’s an amazing thing to see.