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When 2 Boys With 2 Different Battles Found Each Other

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Superheroes are characters of elite power and strength. They are often warriors who have the ability to rise above the evil that ensnares the common good. Superheroes create a fascination and intrigue that captures the interest of children and adults of all ages. We intrinsically want the hero to win and defeat the notorious villain. In Metropolis, Superman would save the day, but in our world, what gives someone Superhero Status?

In the media and the public eye, celebrities and politicians are often put on an ideological pedestal, and the stories of people who fight everyday battles often go unnoticed. Heroes are made in the hearts of everyday people, from community protectors to children battling conditions. It’s important that we recognize those heroes and encourage compassion in our society.

We have a young, preschool Scoliwarrior in our home, who has a condition called progressive infantile scoliosis. He’s currently fascinated with everything superhero. His initial adorned shield of protection was a Mehta torso cast, and as he’s grown, he now wears a TLSO torso brace 20 hours a day. He often runs with his brace and adds a cape because, as we know, every good superhero needs a cape.

Our Scoliwarrior has a friend, who, at the age of 5, shows more compassion than most grown adults. There have been many situations where my son’s partner in crime has used his x-ray vision to see who our son really is behind his shield. Not too long ago, both boys were getting ready to play outside in the water, so they both put on their swimsuits. I took my son’s brace off and helped him to put on his swimsuit. His sidekick saw his brace and began to tell him that he had something similar that he used to wear and he understood what it was like. Many people stare and then ask numerous questions about what it is and why our Scoliwarrior has to wear it. Our son’s partner in crime has never actually worn any type of brace, but, at the wise
age of 5, he was trying to model empathy, not sympathy.

Not too long after that scenario, our son’s faithful sidekick became sick and had to have a hospital visit. As I was telling our Scoliwarrior about his buddy, I shared that he was scared and asked what we could do to help. Our sweet son suggested we take him a superhero cape to the hospital because he wanted to let his buddy know he had had a similar experience and wanted to share that he could be strong, so he wouldn’t be scared. Children can be great teachers!

two boys in capes

Empathy and compassion aren’t characteristics that can truly be taught by definition. They have to be modeled. We are thankful to have many good family friends who strive to be daily examples for their children. Often times, a condition or disability defines someone in the eyes of another, but for our Scoliwarrior and his sidekick, it was a means of connection. We need more people like these young boys to champion our world. Everyone is fighting different battles. Instead of judging or simply sympathizing, we should walk beside each other with empathy and cover one another with capes of compassion.

Originally published: September 2, 2016
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