Should Kids Look Up To Superheroes? #geekdad #superman
Yesterday, I had a semi-productive afternoon! I came home from work, had dinner (because my wife is awesome), and went outside to do stuff around the garden and the garage. The entire time I was out there, my son was my side-kick. He helped me weed the garden, water the plants, even mix the fish fertilizer for our vegetable garden. You should have seen his reaction to the SMELL of that stuff. Priceless!
After we finished cleaning up some stuff in the garage, we got to work on brushing the dog. By then it was almost 8pm. When we got inside, my son looked at me and says “Aww, man! It’s after 8…I have to go to bed…” I smiled and asked him a question. “What would you think about having a Popsicle and watching Justice League on Netflix?”
You can guess his reaction!
We spent the next 1 1/2 hours watching Superman and Batman save the world. Heck, we even had discussions about what and how they were doing it! Yes, that’s right. We had discussion on “Power Corrupts” and other such philosophical ideas. That’s the reason I wanted to write this post, as a Geek Dad.
Besides the fact that watching Superman with my son is awesome, there is much more to it. I’ve heard people talk about whether or not it’s a good thing to teach your kids to look up to Super Heroes. Especially ones that are violent and what not. Now I won’t ever say that ultra violence is “good” for anyone, especially kids. But hopefully I can shed some light on how I see it, as a Dad.
If you are a Christian, hopefully you teach your kids to look up to God… someone who is Moral and Right all the time. So we will keep that out of this post for now, it’s a given.
First, there are a lot of ‘superheroes’ that I would NEVER look up to. So please use some common sense when reading this :-). I want to focus on the principle behind all of this mostly, and on one superhero for now; Superman.
As a child, I always looked up to my dad as a hero. He could do anything and was stronger than anyone. He was smarter, faster, nicer and all around more awesome than any dad alive. That’s the way it should be too. It gave me something to look up to, strive towards and have confidence in. It made me want to be like him. It made me want to be better than what I was.
As I grew up, I started to see his flaws. I started to realize that he was a “person” just like me. My dad never hid that from me either. When I reached adult-hood, I realized that my dad really was a superhero. He made it through all the stuff I am going through now and had no clue how to do it. It was because I saw him succeed AND fail, that I was able to deal with my own failures.
But, if I had never seen him as a hero? I would have only focused on the failures. I wouldn’t have had something to strive towards, to encourage me that I could do better… someone to trust in and look up to. I needed to see him as a hero.
Your children will always see your flaws… just watch the video above. That’s why they NEED to see the hero too. My son constantly refers to me as Superman and he’s 7 years old. On my back, I have a tattoo of the Superman “S”, and surrounding it I have the names of my kids and my wife. My son told me that my name wasn’t on there, because I was the “S”… He’s right. I wanted to be Superman for my family. I have written about this in the past..
I know I’m a geek, and I just love comics and superheroes. So it comes naturally to me to share that with my kids. But hero’s like Superman have a lot to teach. Believe it or not, Superman is a great allegory for Christ. A son, sent here by his father to help save the human race? Some day I will write a more detailed comparison.
Recently, Henry Cavil (Superman’s latest actor on the big screen) had some interesting things to point out with the character, which I disagree with as a Geek AND as a Dad.
“There’s plenty of time for individual Superman sequels. He’s a tough character to tell. People like the darker vigilante. I think it speaks to the human psyche more easily rather than the god-like being that we can’t really understand…”
That was his quote when asked why a second “solo” Superman movie wasn’t being done right away. I agree and disagree all at once. Yes, a lot of people like the darker, vigilante style superhero. (Punisher, Batman, ect…) It appeals to the revenge/justice side of people. But I have to draw a LARGE X in the sand when it comes to the part about understanding/relating to a god-like being.
Of the things that made Superman the most POPULAR superhero in the history of superheroes, is EXACTLY his “god-like” self. It was the fact that there was something out there that had power that cared. It gave us that “dad” affect, even on adults. As we all grew to know and love Superman, we found out that he had some weaknesses… but also saw that he NEVER gave up! He NEVER compromised what was right. He NEVER went against his standards.
Guess what? Those are all things we are NEVER used to seeing in our real life. Yet, here was someone that had the power to make it happen. He had the power to do the things we have always wished we could do.
For a moment, we are all looking at our dads. That mighty hero that could do no wrong. It spoke to our psyche alright, in a way that we may not have even noticed. We would cheer when he figured out the impossible choice. We would be encouraged when he made it against all odds. We would cry when he lost his battle against Doomsday and was buried… The first time the “god-like” being lost.
There are plenty of reasons that Superman gave hope. I think the largest, is that he put us back into being little kids, looking up at our dad. Having something to aspire to, is core to humanity. Sure, flawed people appeal to us as well. Reminds us that everyone has problems. But knowing that we can be better? That’s the main thing.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin – The Bible
Knowing that there is someone out there who has felt the same as us, been through the same as us, and made it. Knowing that ‘redemption’ is possible. That success is possible! That is why Superheros are not only good, but helpful!
Don’t ever stop being Superdad or Supermom! Don’t stop your kids from aspiring to be better! Above all, realize that every sacrifice you make for your family, is worth it.
Peace out all,