A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to be a speaker at a local elementary school’s career day. I was assigned a series of Kindergarten classrooms, and I began each session by asking the kids, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
As usual, I received a variety of answers, including: Princess, Superhero, and a Ninja.
I wondered, when do we stop believing that we can be superheroes? #ThingsCarrieBradshawMightWrite
As I see the buzz about the pending birth of a new royal in the United Kingdom, and as I read various friends’ Facebook posts about the event, I hear everything from awe, down to statements like “NOBODY CARES!” Well, clearly they do. Even the one who posted that they don’t care, does—on some level care—or they wouldn’t bother to post at all.
So where does this fascination—or at least interest—in royalty come from?
I could argue that it is basic social construction. It’s what we celebrate in our cartoons and video games. It’s what we use to entice young imaginations through early childhood literature. It’s what we talk about during idle chit-chat. And it’s what we pushback against during inflamed arguments as we shout things like, “Oh yeah, well who made YOU Queen/King?”
So these are pieces of the social construction that built our ways of knowing, and that we re-construct for the generation that follows us, and so on.
But I think there’s another piece. The idea-of-royalty appeals to our hope that someone does have a perfect life, filled with fairy-tale love, power, influence—and that someone is taking care of things—taking care of us.
That our childhood aspirations of greatness are possible—at least for some.
This is all well and good unless we allow it to take the focus off of our own potential for greatness in other, more meaningful ways. We can be superheroes of kindness, we can be princesses of compassion, and we can be ninjas that protect the emotional welfare of those we care about most.
We can be great.
And for those of us who have a sense of faith, the Divine always trumps these earthly notions of majesty, giving us the sincerest expression of hope, the truest sense of care, and a deep knowledge of real greatness.