Sometimes I feel like Superdad flying high over all things parenthood. Battling the forces of naughty and nice, showing love that would stop a bullet, moving faster than a locomotive to get things done and using X-ray vision to see bad behavior in the distance.
Other times, I feel like Clark Kent, the absolute opposite of the superhero I am. I feel weak where I was strong and my kids become my kryptonite, draining me of energy the nearer they get. Sometimes I find myself sinking in quicksand and just want to give up. It’s a dream that ends with death. A death that will surely wake me if I just let go and open your eyes. But I can’t, fatherhood is no a dream, it’s real and I’m no Superman. Being a dad is a never-ending battle to be a superhero. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you want to cry and sometimes you play the fool. But the bottom-line is, you have to be stronger.
The other day, was like any other in Metropolis. Up early, kids dressed and fed. I dropped my oldes daughter at an event and rode the bus with my son, Arin, to his basketball game. My son was playing basketball with all of his normal excitement, when all of a sudden he got taken out and ended up sitting out the rest of the game crying. I flew in, normal Superdad fashion to save the day, but there was nothing I could do to save him. Tears turned into rivers with each of my words to him. At one point when I asked if he believed in himself his answer was, “No.” Self-doubt is a killer. Kryptonite! My powers were useless. I just wanted to turn in my cape and ball up in a corner to lose all fatherly powers. But I could not and would not. I felt a variety of emotions from sad and frustrated to angry and exhausted. He didn’t know how to deal with disappointment in the game or disciplining of a coach. He recently turned 8 years old, but in my mind, he should have handled it better. In hindsight, it is these moments that should not defeat us but teach us.
Now that I know some of the issues, I can work on toughening him, because giving up is not an option for him or me. As a child I learned so many things on my own. But having a child means being involved, it means loving, nurturing and leading. Being a dad means teaching and investing time and attention to the thing you want your child to understand. Sometimes you have all the answers and other times, not a clue in planet of Krypton. The key is that your kids don’t dictate your impact on their lives, you do. Leave your imprints all over them. This is your chance to get it right.
Maybe there were things your mom or dad didn’t teach you. Maybe there are things you wished you learned along the way in making you who you are. Well, as a dad you have everyday to re-write and edit the story. Your child is your legacy and you have a major part in how the story ends. Looking at yourself allows you a glimpse into your child’s future. If you were Superman, it would be nothing to change the future but you are not, so consistent work is required. A phone booth won’t work, even if you could find one on Ebay.
“Superman stands alone. Superman did not become Superman, Superman was born Superman. Clark Kent is how Superman views us. And what are the characteristics of Clark Kent? He’s weak, unsure of himself… he’s a coward. Clark Kent is Superman’s critique on the whole human race.” – Quentin Tarantino
Superman had to act weak to fit in, but as fathers, we start out that way. You are not born a Superdad, but you can become one, at times. Your child needs you to.