This I Believe

Susan - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on July 6, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: children, hope
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

This I Believe

I have taught third grade in public schools for over 20 years, and every third grader that I have ever known has led me to this conclusion.

I believe that inside of every human being is a superhero. I believe we become aware of that superhero and our super power around the age of 9. I have never met a 9 year old who doesn’t believe s/he can save the world. And I believe that if that child can somehow, over the years, hold on to that superhero identity, they indeed will change the world, or one little corner of it. Not many adults (not many teens) are secure enough in their right to exist, convinced enough that they are uniquely gifted, and relevant enough to matter on a fairly grand scale. But there was a time when they believed these things; they believed it when they were 9. And that super hero is still alive (perhaps buried alive) inside of us all no matter how old we are.

I see a contagious anxiety and depression in the faces of friends and strangers in my community. So many friends describing to me the hopelessness and paralysis they feel in the face of everyday challenges, the panic attacks they experience, and I can’t help but believe that the panic inside of them is the voice of their superheroes who have been buried alive—buried alive by guilt over transgressions long since paid for, by disease to please and conform to standards of value set by others, by being bullied and deceived into mind sets of powerlessness.

I believe that if we could communicate with that 9 year old within, be reminded of what that 9 year old knew that we have forgotten—see again the dream, name again the bliss,

allow again the hope that lives in the phrase “It ain’t over till it’s over”– I believe that that superhero can be resurrected. All the superheroes can be resurrected! And the world can be saved, or at least a small corner of it, by action figures animated by, empowered by resurrected dreams, resurrected hopes, resurrected beliefs in the superpower of one, and one, and one,….