Friday, March 3, 2017

I am Robin

I am Robin


Sometimes I hear people say, “I am Batman”.  This phrase refers to the famous cartoon crime fighter, who successfully defeats the villain. So when someone says that they are Batman, they are echoing the traits of such a person. They are saying that they are confident, strong, and in control. Ultimately they feel that they will be successful. But Batman did not do it alone; he had his sidekick. He needed someone who could assist him. He needed Robin—the Boy Wonder.

Everyone it seems wants to be the boss—the take-charge person who commands a certain presence and who confidently controls whatever comes their way; who rescues distressed “damsels” and vanquishes the villains. Batman is cool.  He comes into a crisis situation and, calmly takes charge. Results happen quickly.

Enter Robin! Where Batman is strong and confident, Robin is unsure and full of doubt. Though he willingly joins the “Caped Crusader” in fighting crime, he is always shocked at what he sees waiting for Batman to take the lead.  Robin does not rush in. Rather he follows, gladly it seems. Not one to complain, Robin debates what needs to be done.

Though rarely seeking the limelight, he is not without his own persona. Whenever something that is out of the ordinary or startling, Robin yells in astonishment, “Holy Whatever-the-thing-is”. Often these outbursts are humorous, though at other times they are annoying. Nonetheless, they have become a trademark; a way to identify that he is there—surprised, unsure, but ready nonetheless.

Robin’s proclamations of surprise break the tension and allow Batman time to devise a plan. Soon the “Dynamic Duo” are fighting evil together; each in their own way. While Batman targets the main villain, Robin hones in on the leader’s assistants.  Less goal-oriented the more pragmatic Robin does whatever needs to be done to achieve victory, even if that means handing his partner the alphabet-soup decoder so Batman can interpret a message hidden in its broth.

Robin retains largely a supportive role, out of the limelight as Batman is the leader. He is one who is credited with defeating the enemy. He is the one, who asked Robin to use that soup decoder that allowed for the capture of the Riddler. No wonder a lot of us proclaim in moments of triumph, that we are Batman.

At work there are those who like to take charge, who wants to be seen as the go-to person. Sometimes, though in their push towards leadership, these people forget the contributions of their teammates. Bigheadedness can be a problem since they want to do it alone. Yet, inevitably those who think that they are Batman, need the aid of Robin.

I am Robin. I have come to terms with that. Sure, there are times when I want to have more input—when I feel put-upon, but this is  also where I feel I am the most effective  in a supporting role.  Sure, I contribute. I am part of a team—a vital part working in the background to ensure that everything runs smoothly, as our task is completed.

Therefore I should not have rancor at those are the leaders like Batman. True, they can become bossy, and have a do-it-alone attitude. But I, and those like me, know better. They are who they are, and we are who we are. Whereas Batman may need to have a little more humility and patience, Robin may, need a little more pride and assertiveness. Sometimes, we need to shout, to let them know that we are here—with ideas, with resolve and with our own unique skills.

To all the Robins of the world, I say, “Be yourself”. Though we are not Batman, we are not less-than. Our contributions matter. The unique way that we see things, the humanity that we possess; these are things that may not be easily quantified.  Though we may not be the stuff of leaders, we are nonetheless vital to the success of the group. Besides, who else can they turn to when, in the midst of fighting,  a can of alphabet soup can hold the one clue that will solve the problem and   win the battle.