I remember it like it was last week, but really it was 2001. We were in Mount Prospect, Illinois in a sparsely decorated living room of a house we had rented from the people next door. I was working four part-time jobs, two of which were professional regional theater “shows”, one was a shipping clerk for a small music store, and the fourth I was serving tables as a singing server at a restaurant called Ember’s Charhouse. The combined income, of all four jobs, still barely allowed my family of 4 to eat, and my wife to stay home with our two children (and you thought professional acting was glamorous and rich!). But it was here on a red area rug that barely gave any relief to the baby’s knees from the hardwood floor that I heard my oldest son, who was 4 years of age at the time, say something I will never forget. He was sitting on the windowsill of the old, dilapidated bay window in between the makeshift curtains, that only gave us a small amount of privacy, speaking to his mother. He said, “When I grow up I want to be a ‘show actor’ and work at Embers.”
I was dumbfounded.
How could he want that?!
I thought to myself, “Don’t you know what a difficult life this is? Don’t you want to wait till I make something of myself? Don’t you know that we are barely making ends meet? Don’t you know that we are scraping the bottom of the barrel of society?” …and as I play this memory back in my mind, with the wisdom his growing years have given, Wesley answers me. He says, “No, Dad, I don’t even know what any of that means, but even if I did – I don’t care. You are my Dad, my hero, and I want to be just like you!”
We live our lives in an adult world jaded by concepts such as “what have you done for me lately” and “the proof is in the pudding.” Children do not! Not only have they yet to learned these phrases, but the in-born desire to admire their father trumps these notions even after they have understood what they mean. You see, what I have come to learn is that a son is “hard wired” to admire his father. Do you know what that means? It means you are his hero! Not because you are the CEO of a multi-million-dollar company, not because you are a sports superstar, or a famous stage actor, not because of anything that you have done (beyond the obvious)! It’s a gift given to you by our Heavenly Father and is part of the fabric of life.
So, carry yourself with confidence. You don’t have to achieve certain expectations for your children to look up to you. They want to be like you, the you that they see right now.
“WE ARE MEN OF ACTION…”
So, Dad… I challenge you to lean into your child-given label of hero. Be the hero they already think you to be. Take a step with the hero mentality today! Choose to rescue them, rally support for them, or respond selflessly to their situation
You can do it! Be their hero today: rescue, rally, or respond to them like you are wearing a cape!
*Although posted at the end of 2017, this is the first in what has become a series of posts, you can skip to 2 of 7 with this link.