As kids, we all heard stuff we weren’t necessarily meant to as our parents or others held “adult” conversations (or arguments) in front of us, forgetting that children hear all, see all. I don’t know why, then, I’m surprised when one of my kids mentions something from a conversation that wasn’t meant for her ears. It’s a reminder that I’m neither sly nor calculating enough to present my best side whenever others are around; sometimes the worst of me shines through.
I know my kids are watching me, but I’m also aware that people around me are watching as well. I know this because my own experience, how I’ve been influenced by strangers around me. Like the high schooler who once played basketball with my friends and me and displayed the utmost in sportsmanship, or the patient gentleman I recently met up with who defied my prejudices toward hulking, young, tattooed men, a number of them have left a indelible impact.
Midoriya of Boku no Hero Academia is one of those “watchers.” Though he’s now progressing under the watchful eye of the ostentatious superhero, All-Might, it wasn’t always like that. Flashbacks and earlier episodes of the series remind us that Midoriya was once just one among millions who didn’t personally know All-Might, but admired him from afar. I would say that All-Might became the center of Midoriya’s life, as the young boy started to adopt his hero’s beliefs. He was impacted greatly by a stranger.
I know I can’t live a life that’s perfect, and neither can I live a life where I purposely exhibit my best when I’m around others. Sure, I go into high gear at gatherings and try to be kinder, more talkative, warmer than I typically am, but I can’t be that way always. As an introvert, I would explode if I did as much in every single social situation. But remembering how people have affected me without meaning to, and wanting to reach out to others in love as God has loved me, makes me want to do better. But if I can’t always put on a show, how can I still be a person of character wherever I go?
I think the answer might have to do with faith. As I develop my relationship with Christ, I understand more and more that it really is up to me to choose Christ above my own goals, beliefs, and wisdom, and that when I make choices that demonstrate faith, God does something amazing. He starts building me up, making me more like Christ, who among many other things, is the same now as he was then, among his friends or among enemies. His character remains unchanged.
I need to trust in God above my own understanding and choose his ways above others. When I do that, I might find that although I won’t be perfect like Christ, or a superhero like All-Might (though we as Christians should emulate that superhero mentality in a way), I can be Christ to those around me. I can be All-Might, a figure that models goodness to those who are watching me.
But then again, maybe it’s not so much about being All-Might. Near the beginning of the narrative, All-Might saves Bakugou and Midoriya from a villain, but is encouraged to fight under the duress of his quirk’s time limit by Midoriya, who rushes in to help even without a quirk of his own. In a twist, the All-Might-worshiping Midoriya ends up being a model for the hero when he didn’t even know All-Might was watching.
As I grow in my faith in God, trusting to choose his ways over my own, I know I’ll become a stronger man, one who shines Christ not just when “I’m on,” but as my way of life, whatever the situation and wherever I go. And I hope that in doing so, I’ll be like Midoriya, but instead of being living like All-Might, I’ll be shining the light of my own savior’s teachings.
Boku no Hero Academia is streaming on Crunchyroll.