My son learned about superheroes from his friends.
We thought he was still too little for them, and we hadn't introduced them to him yet, but one day he came home exclaiming that he was Superman. His version of Superman involved him running around the house with his arms above his head telling me that he was flying. He giggled as he ran, asked me for a cape, and I envied his confidence as he leaped off the couch to take flight.
After I reminded him not to jump off the furniture, I thought of one of my favorite TED Talks by Amy Cuddy. Since I have watched her talk about body language, being big, and faking it until you make it, I have struck my own version of the Superman pose before interviews, family functions and difficult phone calls. It definitely works: It's such a simple way to build up the confidence I lost growing up.
It's hard for me to think that one day my son will no longer feel invincible. That one day he will wonder too much about what others think and worry that he isn't the perfectly amazing hurricane of fun that I think he is.
So I am starting early. I encourage my son to be big when he is scared; to fake it until he makes it; and to keep believing that he could be Superman.
But he is still not allowed to jump off the couch.