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What’s Your Superpower?

Today I stopped by Buddy Day at a nearby park, sponsored by Down Syndrome Families of Las Cruces.  I saw super heroes, without capes, doing many amazing and wonderful things. The early spring grounds were packed with kids and their families having a blast in the jumping balloons, eating hot dogs and nachos and cuddling the animals in the petting zoo. Horses pulled trolleys loaded with grinning kids around the park. Local first responders provided thrills, patient explanations and boosts to look inside their fire trucks and ambulances.

What a Good Day!


Spiderman and Mickey Mouse were also making the rounds, kneeling down to hug children, high fiving them and it started me thinking. Here’s a great little game to play with your kids that will encourage them to think about what makes them unique. It also gives you a chance to help them see their extended family and others through a different lens.


A Superhero lens


Here’s the 4 step easy plan:

Collect some basic art supplies, paper, crayons, pencils, etc. maybe even some modeling clay.


1–Ask your kids what their super power is. Have them describe themselves and their super power. If they’re able to write it have them tell you and then you, as the superhero’s administrative assistant (trust me, they’ll love this), can write it down for them. Check out this blog from Linda Hunter of Pretend City Children’s Museum:

Wearing a Superman Cape can Help Preschoolers!


2–Have the kids draw, paint, make a sculpture or otherwise use some of those art materials to create a visual model of themselves as a superhero or otherwise showing their superhero awesomeness.


3–Talk about parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers—someone older than them. Ask your kids “What’s Grandma’s superpower?” “How do you think Uncle Jim is a superhero?” Write the description, draw the picture. Maybe you’ve got Grandma in a red cape, wielding a rolling pin and making the best pie ever, maybe Uncle Jim’s superpower is being a fireman and helping people, or fixing cars. Maybe Aunt Tina’s cape has dog bones on it and she’s the best puppy trainer you’ve ever seen.

Final step:

4–Share the superhero goodness with the people you’ve honored. Ask some more questions about their super power and how they use it to help people. You might even take your collection of family super hero pictures and descriptions and put them together into a simple photocopied book. Make extras and share them with each other.

Love, laughter, appreciation and joy magnified!

Connect the Dots: Using Objects to Tell Your Story

As promised, let’s talk about how to use the objects in your life to weave the threads of a story. The Sewing Machine, by Natalie Fergie is currently on Amazon’s best seller list. This fascinating novel uses a common household tool as the common element tying together lives and families across generations. I’ve decided not to give you too many details as I don’t want to spoil a good read. If you think you’ve seen this plot before let me challenge you—you have never seen it quite like this!


You will never look at the mundane objects in your life the same way after reading this book. It will open your eyes to nuances of story and coincidences that have affected your own life. It will make you think. Any maybe dismiss the whole notion of coincidence.


Some themes to consider as you think about any objects in your life that might serve as generational connectors or story starters:


Trace the history of an object through your family tree. You can use the history of an object to both anchor and tell your own family history. This popular technique is used by fiction writers and works beautifully in writing your memoir too.

Is there something that has been passed down through the generations? Trace its origins, who held it for a time and why. Who has it now? Why? Where do you think it will go next? Can you imagine a few generations down the road who might cherish it? Why?

There is value in castoffs– people and things—why is this particular object valued?


Different people value objects for different reasons,

can you trace the attitudes of your object’s previous owners?


One of my clients has a rolling pin that is very special to her. She is a great natural story teller and loves to pass on the history of this object. And her grown children and their children love to hear it. Grandma’s rolling pin has a legacy all its own.

It started as a wedding gift many generations ago, prior to the Civil War. It was lovingly passed down and is part of a tradition of pie making and biscuit rolling that touches the heartstrings of all in the family. It connects them. It isn’t just a chunk of hardwood; it is the memoirs of family gatherings, of joyful times celebrated, of grief shared. It is the connecting piece, witnessing future hopes as little hands are coached in how to roll out the pastry evenly and as new grandchildren are bounced on knees over a piece of after-dinner pie. It sits in testimony to the love and resilience of family as friendly bantering bounces around the kitchen about which kinds of pies to bake this year.


Make a list of the important objects in your life.


You will probably see one or two rise to the top with a feeling of emotion and poignancy that shouts out “Tell my story!” Now, get that thing and hold it, look at it, really see it in all the details. Let your mind wander over everything you know about it and the people who have cherished it before you. See how many points of connection you can make with that object(s).  !

When you’re done with this little exercise you will probably have enough material for several chapters or your own little mini-memoir using this object as the thread.

Good luck and have fun!