One dreary wet Tuesday morning, I decided to bring both of my boys with me to church to get some work done.  I don’t usually attempt this because it tends to be counterproductive, but I was just organizing some supplies in one of the classrooms and figured it was worth a shot.  As I was hanging up a new poster on the bulletin board, my four year old, K, gazed at it in awe and struck up the following conversation:

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K: Wow! (amazed sigh)  They look like superheroes!

Me: Those are Jesus’ disciples and followers.  It says (reading the poster) “The Rescuers…” yeah so I guess your right bud, they are sort of like superheroes.

K: (inquisitively) What can they do?

Me: Well, (pause) they were called to go out and tell people about Jesus and how he could save them.  So, Jesus was like a superhero too.

K: Jesus is a superhero?! (Giddy with excitement and amazement)

Me: Well, (pause) I guess in a way.  He saves people and he had power to perform miracles.  He healed people who were blind or couldn’t walk.  He brought Lazarus back from the dead…

K: (interrupting and triumphantly yelling) And He walked on water, with waves and a storm! (This is K’s favorite Bible Story of all time)

Me: That’s right he walked on water too.  So when Jesus went to heaven to be with God he left his friends, these guys on the poster, behind to tell other people about everything that he had done and to help save everyone in the world.  Jesus even gave them power too.

K: (Pausing slightly and thinking deeply about our conversation) So I can be a superhero like Jesus?

Me: Yes sweetie, if you love and follow him.

K: (Jumping up with excitement and yelling out triumphantly) then I’m gonna walk on water too!

 

K then soared off around the room “flying” like superman/walking on stormy water like Jesus until becoming distracted by a toy, bumping into his brother’s car seat and thus waking him up and moving us all on to a new activity.

But later, I looked at the poster again and thought a little more about our conversation.  If you have spent any time with a preschool boy, you know that superhero’s come up a lot, I mean A LOT!  For a young boy there is nothing more thrilling then the prospect of defeating the bad guys, saving the day, and using special powers like flying or super strength to make it happen.  Little boys and girls love to play out these dramatic stories about heroes, princesses, princes, knights, rescues, etc.  And sure, they do get some of these plot lines from storybooks and TV shows, but I truly believe that there is an internal narrative at work that stems beyond their media influences.

There is a great song out by Matthew West called “Hello my name is”.  I included the link to the music video for you here if you’re not familiar with the song, or you’re like me and just want to hear it again.

The chorus goes like this:

                Hello my name is child of the one true King
                I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
                “Amazing Grace” is the song I sing
                Hello my name is child of the one true King

I absolutely love this, and when I really heard the lyrics for the first time, it was like a light bulb going off in my head saying, “Of course! That’s why every little girl wants to be a princess!”  Little girls and boys want to be princesses and heroes because we are princesses and heroes!  We were created to have these names and titles because we ARE children of the One True King.  And I see that in the preschoolers I know.  Their little hearts long for their creator.  They long for the great narrative of God’s big story, where he is calling us to be princesses, princes, and even superheroes.  That’s what this journey of faith is all about.  It’s not a list of do’s and don’ts.  It’s an epic story with battles, a rescuer, messengers, and of course a King.  And our job is not to simply tell the story but to live as a part of the story, the next chapter, taking our special place that only we can fill in the epic adventure.  And who doesn’t want to live life this way?!  Preschoolers instinctively desire a life this thrilling and deep down we parents do too even if we need a four year old reminder every once in awhile.  So parents, let your kids dress up as princesses and superheroes just make sure they know where their identity and power reside, in the hands of the One True King.