This is my "almost 5 years old but still 4 for a few more days" (his own words) grandson Stanley Jr., affectionately known as Bubba. Bubba's favorite things are robots, specifically Transformers. For anyone who has not been around children for a while, Transformers are Superhero robots who can transform themselves into some pretty nifty super vehicles like trucks, planes, helicopters and such. The leader of the good-guy Transformers , as opposed to the bad guy Transformers, is called Optimus Prime. Good old Optimus can change himself into a huge, shiny, silver tanker truck. This is the gold standard of Transformers. So imagine my grandson's amazement when we were pulling out of the parking lot of the supermarket in my new home town when a big, shiny, silver tanker truck came zooming by.
Now his mother and I knew that this was just an ordinary milk tanker on its way to pick up milk from the local dairy farms. However, from the backseat came a loud gasp, followed by, "Grandma, look! It's Optimus Prime!" Not missing a beat, I replied, "Yep, it sure is." Bubba strained against his seat belt to watch his hero make a turn and head up the road to my place. "He's going up your road! Quick, follow him!" Like a good mother (and because we were headed that way anyway), my daughter swung out of the lot and took up the pursuit. Since my place is just before the crest of a hill, and our neighbors are dairy farmers who are currently building a huge, new dairy barn, I figured that was our hero's destination. Sure enough, as soon as it crested the hill, it disappeared into the farm's driveway to make a pickup. My grandson was beside himself. "Is that where he lives?" he asked. "You bet," I answered. "That's why they're building that big new barn. But it's a secret because he doesn't want the bad guys to know where it is." (This is called covering my butt in case he took it upon himself to walk up the hill for a visit). When we got out of the car, he just looked up the hill at the barn and then at me in awe. "Wow! Optimus Prime is my grandma's neighbor!" My own grandma status had just risen to the top of the meter.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could all transform ourselves into a sleek, shiny superhero so we could save the world and have that kind of effect on someone's life, especially if it's someone we love? Here's a little secret: the most powerful transformation we can make is to become the best version of who we really are and watch how it transforms those around us. Think back in your own lives to that one person, be it a parent, teacher, or friend, who lived a truly authentic life and what kind of effect that had on you. We often forget that everything we do causes a ripple that spreads out and touches everyone around us just like a pebble tossed in a pool of water. When I am out in the garden tending to my plants, or working on a piece of writing, everyone around me sees a happy, contented, whole person. That is the very best version of myself that I could possibly share with those I love ... even if I do live next door to a superhero.
So take a few moments and think about how you can be a superhero to those around you by being the best version of you that you can be, and imagine what kinds of ripples you can send out. Somebody some day is going to thank you for it. Let Optimus Prime try and top that!
And so it is.