Superheroes are featuring heavily in my life at the moment. Or rather, they are featuring heavily in my four-year-old son’s life, and so by default I am having to take an active interest.
I’ll be honest: when it comes to motherhood, I have found even the basics utterly bamboozling: How do you strap a screaming, angry toddler into a car seat when they have perfected planking? How do you persuade them to try a teeny tiny piece of carrot at dinner? Why does it take 17 minutes for them to put on one shoe? Where have their socks gone?
I have now reached the next level, where most days I have a series of questions flung at me that I am simply not qualified to answer.
“How does Spiderman climb walls?”
“Who would win in a fight – Batman or Spiderman?”
“Who is fastest, Superman or Flash?”
I am out of my depth on this one.
And then the other day, while he was dressed as Spiderman and had me trapped in his string ‘web’, he asked:
“Mummy, do the goodies always win?”
For a moment, I was floored; unsure how to answer my feisty four-year-old Superhero, as he watched me with innocent eyes.
Because, truth be told, 2016 has kind of shat all over my illusion that this is indeed the case.
In a year where the likes of Farage and Trump have come out on top, shouting their mouths off about ‘Greatness’, when in fact their ideals and ideas are anything but (hands up who would have liked to hear more about tolerance, compassion, equality, diversity, love? Yup, me too), how can I look my child in the eye and tell him that, yes, the good guys always win?
Sometimes, I guess, the bad guys get their moment in the spotlight.
But you know what? However bleak the global horizon seems right now, there is always hope. There are still so many good, good people out there. Helping others. Fighting for humanity. Pulling people ashore. Offering a lifeline. I am in awe of these people, on the front line, volunteering in refugee camps and war zones, and campaining for human rights, right now.
I am running the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2017 for War Child. I am not running it because I have a whole heap of spare hours on my hands to train (who does?). I am running it because there are thousands of children caught up in conflict zones and living in refugee camps who are in desperate need of help, and I want to do my small part. I am running it because, after a year like 2016, I’m in need of a rather large dose of positivity, hope, generosity, charity, grit, determination and love. I’m not sure if you’ve ever run the London Marathon or gone along to cheer on the participants? If so, you will know it offers all of the above in abundance. The London Marathon is positivity, hope, generosity, charity, grit, determination and love on steroids (not actual steroids, obvs).
You know what else? The small acts of kindness we perform each and every day all add up. I hope through my daily actions, my children are learning the importance of kindness and love. My son knows we donate to the Foodbank because there are people in our area who can’t afford food. Some days he really seems to understand this (other days, he clearly couldn’t give a shit, because he is only four years old and I have dragged him away from Paw Patrol on the telly).
But as long as we all keep demonstrating love and compassion to our children, our families, our neighbours, our fellow humans; if we realise we can each still make a positive difference in this world, then surely love and compassion will prevail. It has to. Because I have so much faith in not just ourselves, but in the next generation.
So, what did I end up telling my son?
“Yes, poppet, good always wins in the end.”
Because that’s what I have to believe.
We all do.