Head of Junior School, Bev van Niekerk

Having been blessed with two sons, I have had the great fortune to get to know many of the DC and Marvel characters. There is the agile Peter Parker, AKA Spiderman; the handsome Clark Kent or Superman; brooding Bruce Wayne, otherwise known as Batman; the principled Captain America; Antman; Thor; and my personal favourite – Wonder Woman.

So, what is it about these characters that draw us in? Superheroes, or heroines, give us the opportunity to dream big. In most cases, they are very ordinary men and women in their real lives. Thanks to their powers, however, they can overcome any obstacle.

Each of us holds a unique superpower in the form of words. Words generate emotions, emotions lead to action, and from our actions flow the results. The point is, we can use words constructively to build and encourage, or we can use them destructively to bring hurt and despair.

I’d like to use an important word and build it as an acrostic. The first letter of this word is D which, in my acrostic, refers to the word DREAM.

When Franklin D Roosevelt took office as president of the United States in 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt dramatically changed the role of the first lady. Along with penning her own newspaper column, Eleanor focused on helping the country’s poor, stood against racial discrimination and, during World War II, insisted on travelling abroad to visit the troops. She was a firm believer in equality, justice and truth and famously said: ‘The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.’ Let us remember her words and dream big!

Next is the letter A and relates to the word AIM. Once a dream has been established, it is important to set goals or aims that allow us to achieve our dreams. Colin Powell, retired statesman and general in the US army, reminds us that ‘A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work’.

RISE begins with the letter R. When things get tough, it’s important to remember that fear has two meanings – ‘forget everything and run’ or ‘face everything and rise’.

The final word is EMBRACE. Each one of us has been gifted with skills, values and knowledge. We need to be able to use these gifts and turn them into superpowers of our own. If we embrace hardship, we grow resilience. If we embrace uncertainty, we ignite creativity.

D, A, R and E create another beautiful word – DARE! Returning to our superheroes and heroines, I would like to think that the one thing that sets them apart is that they are brave enough to DARE.

Most are gifted with one skill that is unique. Flash has speed, Superman can fly, Peter Parker is a maths whizz and, when Bruce Banner is not green and angry, he is a scientific genius.

So, for the rest of us, it is all about giving ourselves a chance to discover and develop our talents to enrich both our own lives and the lives of others.

Let’s dare to embrace these talents. When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully. When there is darkness, dare to be the first person to shine a light. When something is difficult, dare to do it anyway. When someone is hurting, dare to be the first to help them. When someone has wronged you, dare to display grace and forgiveness. When everyone else is too busy, dare to make a difference.

“Each of us holds a unique superpower in the form of words. Words generate emotions, emotions lead to action, and from our actions flow the results.”