I had a birthday this week and my kids picked out a very cool card for me. It was a Superman birthday card. I have always liked Superman. I read lots of Superman comic books growing up. I watched any and all Superman T.V. shows and movies. I always defended him in debates among my grade school friends. These were the playground debates arguing which Super Hero was the ultimate Super Hero. The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, and the Green Lantern all have some Super Hero flash and sizzle, but at the end of the day, I am a Superman guy.
The Man of Steel is fearless, powerful, and capable. No foe can stand before him. He can lift anything, see everything and go anywhere. His knees never buckle and his strength never fails. Superman is always Super. There is only one point of weakness with this Super Hero. There is a single point of vulnerability layered within his Super powers. There is only one element, in the entire universe that can bring Superman to his knees. The element is Kryptonite. Superman becomes a lot less super in the presence of this substance. Kryptonite comes from Superman’s home planet. Being a Super-man to the whole world is much easier than being a Good-man at home.
I have sat with lots of dads over the years in my counseling office. They do amazing feats in the marketplace. They are fearless among their peers. They compete, win and produce in challenging and dangerous situations. They have nerves of steel and a drive to protect and provide for the people they love. The biggest challenge they often face is not in the outside world, but in their home. Home issues, parenting issues and dad issues tend to surface our insecurities, and to expose our weaknesses. Trying to connect or understand or help your angry fourteen-year-old daughter will almost certainly cause your knees to buckle, cape and all. The truth is Superman capes don’t really help very much at home.
Our daughters don’t really need us to Super-men, but do they do need us to be Good-men. My birthday card had kind and sweet words from my two daughters. I was thanked for “ being goofy”, “listening”, “forgiving” and “loving”. My girls are gracious, and God even more so. He delivers his love through my flawed and uneven efforts as their dad. At the end of the day we are ordinary men, working to believe and receive from an extraordinary God, on a mission way above our pay grade.
A real dad is always better than a fictional hero. How about we leave our capes in the garage and do some good things with our daughters?
- It is good to ask them questions and listen to their answers
- It is good to look them in the eyes and smile when you say hello and goodbye
- It is good to let them, and you, be “goofy” sometimes
If you are working and praying to show your daughter love and grace, you are a good man. Good men are the real heroes.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Don Worcester