Superhero Dad:: Living Up to Their Expectations

Father’s Day is just days away, and this week a few Houston dads have graciously contributed their thoughts on parenting. Today, Matt B., husband of Houston Moms Blog’s own contributor Danashares his desire to live up to his family’s expectations of him and his title of Superhero Dad.

The Dads Take Over | Houston Moms Blog

A few years ago, my amazing wife Dana and our kids gave me this Father’s Day gift.

superhero dad gift

I find myself wanting to make sure that I live up to my family’s expectations as their Superhero Dad, so I want to dive into this a bit and see where I can improve as a man, as a husband, and as a father.

Daddy

Let’s start with what they call me, “Daddy”. Spelled out with Scrabble tiles, it’s cute {and worth 11 points without any triple word scoring, but I digress}, it’s simple, and perhaps the most important part to me, it’s familiar. You wouldn’t call an isolated person “Daddy”. For me, I see Daddy as the opposite of Father. Father to me has always been formal {my own father has always been “Dad” to me} and it seems to be used for people that you don’t really know. I love that my girls call me Daddy. I love that they are familiar and comfortable enough with me to speak to me in this way.

As Brave as Captain America

This is a tough one for me to live up to! I read comics growing up, but wasn’t a huge Captain America fan. I felt like he was a little too good guy for me. He was too political and too cheesy, and too grounded in the real world for my taste {I preferred the fantasy of Thor and the sci-fi of Silver Surfer to the more mundane world of the 90’s Avengers}. But now, Captain America has become such a stalwart hero for me. He is brave. He is incredibly courageous. Even in the modern Marvel films, he is seen time and again standing up for his convictions in the face of adversity, anger, and most importantly, peer pressure. He doesn’t sign the Sokovia Accords {see Captain America :: Civil War} like his best friends do. As a Superhero Dad, I want to model that kind of bravery in my own life. I want my kids to stand up and sing with me in church; heck I want them in church with me. I want them to see me doing the right thing, even when it isn’t easy, even when it isn’t simple, and especially when it isn’t what everyone else is doing.

As Incredible as the Hulk

“That’s my secret….I’m always angry”. I think the Hulk/Bruce Banner, don’t get enough credit for the journey of control that they have been on. Hulk’s ability to function without destroying everything in sight goes from non-existent in the Hulk’s solo movies, to having full conversations while he’s wrapped in a towel during Thor :: Ragnarok. I want to be incredible, especially at showing up for my family. I want the incredible-ness to be related to my being around for the things that are important to them. From the big things like graduations, dance recitals, and first days of school to the little things like tucking them in bed at night, play time, walks and bike rides, and the daily little moments that happen so regularly. Man, this one is really hard to do consistently. I have bad days, I have “I’m tired” days, and I have “please go upstairs and play” days. I want those days to be the exception rather than the rule and I want my kids and my wife to know that I’m there for them. I want to be such an integral part of their daily lives that it would be incredible for me to not be there.

As Quick as Spiderman

Quick, huh? Spidey is a quick, agile, nimble hero, for sure, but me? Quick? I’m not a super fast dude, never have been. Even my 2-mile time in the Army was barely passing and I was in the best shape of my life back then. I mean, there could also be some negative connotations to that one, if taken the wrong way… from the positive side though, I do want to be quick — maybe the better word for me is responsive! I want to be there when they need me, not after! When Dana has had a tough day and needs help with anything, I want to be ready to drop whatever I’m doing and get in there for her. When Bekah falls down and scrapes her knee, I want to be there quickly and be ready to give it a kiss, tell her “Uh oh…I think…it’s gonna…FALL OFF!” and have her give me the all-too-early-to-have-mastered-this teenager stare from the 7-year-old and say, “Daddy…it’s not gonna fall off.” I want to be the dad that his kids and wife don’t hear, “In a minute” and think, whelp, there goes the next half hour, but the dad whose wife and kids know that in a minute means a minute, or less, to my responding to them. That’s the kind of man I am striving to be.

As Clever as Iron Man

This one hits me right where I live. I’ve always prided myself on my intellect. Iron Man is very much a hero in this vane. Whether he’s Tony Stark, billionaire industrialist, or Iron Man, a tech-powered hero whose suit gives him the majority of his power, but his brain is the key to executing all the high-powered stuff that is packed into that armor. That’s where I want to be for this hero — fully utilizing the tools I have to achieve success in every situation. I love my wife and my kids and I want them to always be ready to ask me for help in everything, knowing that I will use whatever I have. And if I need a tool, whether a physical tool or better words/behaviors, etc., I want them to be sure that I’ll work to develop whatever is needed. I want to be seen and known as a clever, intelligent man, most deeply to my wife and children.

I want to be brave in my convictions, incredible in my presence, quick in my responses, and clever in the application. I so badly want to live up to being their Superhero Dad. I know I’ll fail- more than once! But I also know that the secret all of these heroes have:: resilience in the face of failure. Every one of these heroes failed at something, but the writers of the comics and movies know how important it is for the hero to be seen striving, getting back up after a failure. They play the long game, even if they are losing. Winning, being a superhero, is really about having the gumption to continue. To define winning in terms of personal victory even when the outcome is truly a loss.

I want my kids to see that being a Superhero Dad doesn’t always mean that I never fail, but that I’ll never stop trying, loving, and living.

 


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