“With great power comes great responsibility…”
Someday, I can envision a lecture with my son beginning with those words.
Like the dad from TeenWolf, I will one day be forced to council my teenage son on how to manage his superpowers. I’ll tell him that it’s ok to use these powers to excel at sports, provided he doesn’t become a ball-hog. I will say that it’s ok for him to maybe get even with a bully, as long as he doesn’t cripple the guy or something. And it’s ok to impress a girl with your powers, but just make sure she loves the real you. Finally, I will tell him to maintain his dignity, and to not be seen “surfing” or doing handstands on top of a buddy’s minivan around town. Hopefully he’ll get the message.
These are the things I’ve been thinking about since I discovered my one-year old son possesses superhuman strength.
The other day, he grabbed onto a heavy chair in our kitchen. He pulled it away from the counter, and pushed it across the floor with ease. This chair happens to be twice as tall as he is, and easily weighs twice his body weight. And then it dawned on me. There is no way I could perform a comparable feat, pushing around an object over twelve feet tall and weighing close to 400 pounds.
This is just one example. He routinely pushes, lifts, pulls and topples items around the house that are gigantic relative to his size. And being a baby, he doesn’t know that he shouldn’t be able to manhandle these items. He quite literally doesn’t know his own strength.
And I hypothesize that, as he gets older, he’ll only get stronger. Whereas now he can manipulate items twice his body weight, in a few years it will be five or six or even ten times his body weight. He’ll have full-on insect strength.
Now, as far as superpowers are concerned, insect strength is a good one to have, as it lends itself well to superhero pseudonyms. While comic book characters have already claimed the best names, there are still lots of options out there. For instance, he could craft an appropriate costume and go by the name “Locust-Man” and bring forth the ultimate famine… on crime.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, as crime fighting is years in the future. My biggest concern will be his formative years. While I initially looked at his gifts with great excitement, figuring that I will no longer have to watch “World’s Strongest Man” competitions on ESPN to witness feats of strength, I now realize the difficulties I will encounter in raising this boy.
At only one year of age, he is already physically stronger than my wife, and routinely overpowers her during bath time or diaper changes. I used to laugh at these spectacles at first, but now I have sobered up to the fact that my days as an authority figure are numbered.
If I attempt to take a toy away from him, will he instead rip my arm out of the socket? The first time I tell him to clean his room, will he hoist the family car over his head and heave it at me?
Despite these fears, I am committed to raising my son in a house of discipline. Ideally, with the right counseling, I can teach Charlie to use his gifts for the betterment of mankind, and not the pursuit of evil. I just need to find some type of Cryptonite to help maintain discipline, as I don’t think he’ll respond well to being grounded.