How do I tell my daughter about a world with no superheroes?

Post by Jason Plotkin

One of the best movie experiences I’ve ever had was taking my 11-year-old daughter Hannah to the midnight showing of the Avengers. By the time we got home at 4:15 am, she was still so excited she could still hardly sleep.

I get teased a lot because of my love for superheroes and superhero movies. My desire to share this with both my daughters goes beyond a geeky desire to have them name all of the members of the Justice League.

When I take Hannah to these movies, I’m introducing her to a world where anything is possible. It’s a world where people can fly, climb walls and save the world in a suit of armor. Where ordinary people rise above themselves in extraordinary circumstances. I believe that it is important for my daughters to realize that this world is bigger than they are. That they live in a world where they can make a difference.

I know that this world is filled with heroes like firefighters, police officers and teachers. Selfless parents and amazing people who go above and beyond to make this world a better place for the next generation. These are real life heroes who do remarkable and selfless things every day. I make sure that both my girls recognize this as well.

Early this morning in Aurora, Colorado, James Holmes attempted to destroy the world I hold dear. I haven’t been able to stop reading and watching reports about this senseless attack which took lives and wounded many in the process.

I’ve thought about ways to broach the subject with Hannah. I know she’ll hear about it from her friends and have questions. I just don’t know if I have the answers. I can deliver facts and explain what happened, but how do I explain the why?

She has, on occasion, expressed nighttime fears in our own home. I do my best to reassure her that this is her safe haven. A place that is ours, and to give in to these fears only allows those willing to do us harm here, to win.

The movie theaters are supposed a magical place. It’s supposed to be a safe place. A place where my daughter can dream of being a wizard, a princess, or a superhero. A place where I can share my love of this world and expose her to the ability to dream.

I haven’t seen The Dark Knight Rises yet. I’m not really in the movie going mood. For now, this world has been spoiled. But I will return. I will not let people like James Holmes win in this world or any other I inhabit. I can’t let him have it. It belongs to us. The dreamers. The heroes. It belongs to my daughter. She deserves better.

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