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How to build a real-life superhero

Heroes in actionMy friend John is the best super-hero artist I’ve ever met.  He could draw superman doing absolutely anything and he could do it in about five minutes. I reaaaally wanted to be able to draw like him. But, alas, I couldn’t (but I got pretty good at tracing his drawings secretly at home).

When I got older I learned something cool:

there are real life superheroes all over the place, and we don’t even know it!

We would probably notice them more if they wore capes, but they usually don’t.

In the Bible, I learned that everyone is given some kind of super-power, and they’re supposed to use it to save the world. Could you imagine being able to scale walls, stop a speeding train or fly and never DOING it?  Yea, it sounds crazy, but there are a ton of us walking around being totally boring or crabby when we should be out saving the world with the amazing powers we’ve been given.

I want my kids to start off their life knowing they are superheroes, that they ought to be out there saving the world, and

it’s fun.
I had a crazy idea to plan an adventure for Valentine’s day. Here’s how it went, step-by-step:

Step 1: Choose your heroes

Pick a kid (or kids). If you’ve got a heap of them at home then you’re all set, if not you probably have a nice or nephew, grandkid or neighbor that you could invest a couple of hours in.

Got your heroes picked out? Great.

On to step 2.

Time: 1-5 min
Cost: Squat

Step 2: Figure out their special powers

Here’s what I did: I wrote down my heroes names. Under them, I listed  a bunch of stuff that I love about them. I also included their arch enemies (a few things they struggle with.)  and sketched up a logo idea.


Time: 20 min
Cost: Nada

Step 3: Find a mission

This might be the most important part. Superheroes don’t usually sit around in their jammies all day long. They’re out fighting bad guys or helping people. They have a mission. It’s your job, professor, to identify the mission.  Just find someone in your community that a) needs help, b) needs love or c) needs encouragement.

Time: 5-15 min
Cost: Bupkis

Step 4: Plan

You might need to coordinate with someone or purchase a bag o’ tricks. Make sure you’ve got permission to do whatever it is you’re going to do and that you’ve got a time slot. Now, rub your hands together and laugh an evil laugh…oh wait, wrong side. Why can’t the good guys have a “my plans are coming together” laugh.

We should invent that.

Time: 5 min
Cost: Depends. Our bag o’ tricks was about 30 bucks

Step 5: Costumes

IMG_3918This step is optional but fun. I got some T-Shirts at Kmart, found some pens and drew neat logos on the front. At first, I thought about designing some logos in Photoshop, buying printable T-shirt transfers, and spending a few days getting them to look right…
then I thought about quitting.
So I simplified the process. White T-shirts and pens. Easy. The project moves forward!


Time: 1 hour
Cost: $16.00


Step 6: Trading Cards

I thought it would be cool if my superheroes had their own comic book, then I thought about hiring my friend John to draw them up. Then the project got too big and I almost quit again. So I came up with a much simpler solution: Trading Cards. I found a free trading card builder online and a half-hour later I had these:


Time: 30 minutes
Cost: Zilch

That’s it.

Our Adventure

The Big Reveal

I gathered the heroes into one room and presented them with their costume and trading card. This is the first response I got:

“Dad, you’re such a dork”

-Some Teenager

Then not 5 minutes after, the youngest was throwing a tantrum on the floor because she was told that the candy we were packing up wasn’t for her.


I love it when a plan comes together.

After the big reveal, we formed an assembly line, hand wrote cards on 1/4 sheets of printer paper, packed zip lock bags with candy and stapled them together.  When we were done we had this:

Valentine's Day Loot

Evernote Camera Roll 20160214 175612Evernote Camera Roll 20160214 1075611

Our particular mission was to bring Valentine’s day love to some of the residents at a local assisted living center. Old people love little girls…

And they at it up.

Our heroes did too.

We had extra, so as a bonus adventure we gave the rest to our buddies at the checkout lines at Safeway.

Time: 1 hr
Cost: Nothin’


Here are a few things I learned from this adventure:

  • Don’t let an adventure die because you think it needs to be perfect, simplify it and get it done.
  • When your heroes are calling you names or wailing about candy, be patient, it can still turn out great.
  • It doesn’t take a bunch of time and money to do something awesome. Spread it out over a week of lunch breaks and a Sunday afternoon.
  • People love to be remembered, even if they don’t even know you.
  • Plan more adventures.


I hope this inspires you to plan a mission. You can even do this exact one if you want.

What kind of adventures or capers have you planned? How did it go? Are you planning a new one? Let me know in the comments.

(down there)


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