This is Method and Madness post #6, I am Andrew Cline, and today I’m going to talk about some pop culture. So I saw Spiderman Homecoming opening day, and I was thoroughly entertained. Definitely one of the best MCU movies. And don’t worry I’m not going to mention any spoilers (frankly, there aren’t enough people reading this for that to be a problem).
Anyway, in the true spirit of Method and Madness, I am going take things a little bit deeper and talk about what impressed me about this teenage superhero. And emphasis on the teenage part because as I said back in episode 1, I’ve been working with that age group for over a decade and I have learned a few things about them over the years.
Now like it showed in the trailer, Peter is itching to be an Avenger. He got that taste fighting in Civil War and now he wants to be called up to the big leagues. But the question is, is he ready? And that is what the movie explores, all the while Peter is trying to be a normal teen.
And this is where I give the movie a lot of credit because true to high school form the things Peter wrestles with are the same things all teens deal with — just in his case it’s on a superhero level. But those things like hurrying to grow up, wanting to be taken seriously, and trying to balance life while also figuring out oneself all get flushed out.
Now one of the main reasons I love working with teens is because it’s a transition stage in life, and I get to help wrestle with that stuff. Because they’re no longer a kid and definitely not an adult — they’re trying to get through those years as painlessly as possible, even though things are sure to happen.
There’s going to be relationship drama, friends back stabbing each other, parents and teachers that are so old they can no longer relate. I’ve dealt with it all but the one thing that really stands out about teens, and the movie brings this up, is how do they handle the secrets they keep? Who in the world do they open up to and trust to handle what is going on inside?
Now obviously, Peter has to keep his identity a secret, but his secret identity is a two-fold kind of deal. And interestingly Spiderman is the only MCU character who has kept his identity completely secret…coincidence? Eh, maybe. But regardless in Peter’s case, he not only keeps his identity a secret to protect his loved ones, but in true teenage fashion there is also this worry about how his friends and Aunt May will respond to him.
That weight of wondering, “If I let this person know my secret how is it going to impact my relationship with him or her? Can this person really handle this part of me because I’m not even sure I can?” Those are real-deal questions that form in the teen years. And I’d go so far as to say that one big reason why so many adults are messed up is because those kinds of questions never got resolved. And that weight still exists on that person.
This is why being able to have people you can count on, particularly adults, is so key for teens. While I get it’s easier for teens to go to their friends for support, it’s not the best option because you’re just going to people who have no clue of what they’re doing either. themselves. But finding a mentor, an adult who will walk with you, and show you that someone can handle those secrets (inside you) — that is when the pieces come together.
And I’ve had that privilege of being that mentor and I’m grateful for it. Because I get it. I understand when a teenager says, “I can’t tell my parents.” or “You’re the first person I’ve told.” I don’t take that kind of thing lightly. Handling a person’s heart is no small thing.
And from a Christian perspective, that’s one of the big things Christianity teaches. That God is able to handle anything in your heart. Whether it’s anger, fear, doubt; whatever — even if it’s directed at God, God is a big boy and He can handle it. The question becomes do you feel comfortable to open that door and let Him in? Will you take off the mask, and reveal your true self to Him? That’s not an easy thing to do. Being vulnerable rarely is.
But to put up those walls around one’s self, just makes a person hard. To keep that mask on, and I’ve seen this, makes a person so emotionally fragile. You hide your true self from yourself, others, and God — and God forbid the real you comes out.
Countless times I’ve seen “mature” adults freak out when they see something about themselves they don’t want to see. So many adults are spending time trying to be good rather than spending time being real. And it’s even funnier when you throw God into the mix because He already knows who you are. So there is no need to play games with Him.
All that to say, keeping the mask on has a price. In Spiderman’s case, there is some wisdom to keeping a mask on. For us ordinary humans though, there’s a lot more wisdom in taking if off.
So let me know what you guys think. Is my method on point or do I sound mad? Plus what else could I talk about. Leave it all in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe. Once again I’m Andrew Cline for Method and Madness. Have a swell day.