Is There a Hero in the House?
When I was a child, I always wanted to be Superman. I even had a blue-and-red costume with the iconic “S” on the front that made me feel as if I could bend metal bars and see through walls. My mother often worried that my fascination for the Man of Steel would end up hurting me, that I’d jump off a rooftop or step in front of a car. She was almost right on more than one occasion, but she never squashed my childhood imagination. She knew that every child needs a hero.
Today, as I look out at a world filled with violence, consumerism, and sexuality, I have to ask, Where are the heroes? Where are the men and women we can’t help but look up to? Where are those we may confidently pattern our lives after?
The villain in the newest Iron Man movie proclaims, “Heroes? There is no such thing.” But this is a great lie, and I wonder if truth is found not in comic books but in our homes. Could the hero be you?
Having raised three children into adulthood, I now believe that at least one of every child’s heroes should be their dad. Looking back over my sons’ lives, I now recognize I wasn’t always the hero I should have been. I was often too busy, too unplugged, too disconnected to be their Superman. This realization forms one of the greatest regrets of my life.
Two things must happen for you to become your children’s hero. First, you must be willing. A father must want to lead. If your children sense that your desire to lead is not present, their desire to follow will be absent. Even with all of your other responsibilities at work, church, and in the community, you must demonstrate a “fire in the belly” to be proactive in leading your kids. You must be willing to pay the price if you are going to be the father of your family—and you will pay a higher price if you are not.
Second, you must be present. A dad must be available and accessible. Period. I wasn’t always present when my children were young and I should’ve been. I hope you’ll learn this now and avoid similar mistakes.
Do you want to be a good father? Then memorize and live by this acrostic:
The one crucial component in the above list is availability. If you are not available, you cannot give direction, your discipline will be resented, and your spiritual leadership will be rejected. Let me substitute one word in the above acrostic and watch what happens:
The difference between a dad and a dud is simple. It’s the difference between availability and unavailability. You can father a child, but unless you are available you will not live up to the title.
Do you genuinely want to be a hero to your children? I hope so. Every dad should desire to impact his kids’ lives for goodness and godliness. If you are able to do this successfully, your influence on them will live for generations.
You are already a dad. Go become the kind of dad God wants you to be.