Although God did not deem it appropriate to imbue me with superhuman strength, super speed or the ability to fly, I still possess abilities beyond that of normal men. Supermen shouldn’t go around telling people how many buildings they’ve stopped from falling on cats; you’re Superman, it’s what you do. So I won’t tell you how awesome of a father I am.
No. I will tell you how I became one through trial and effort.
In the 2008 action-comedy “Hancock,” Will Smith plays the epitome of an anti-hero. He is selfish, self-centered and more inclined to drink alcohol than save the lives of other people. So, in other words, Will Smith was a single man living on his own.
The obvious tragedy was that Hancock could actually fly, had superhuman speed and strength. To every single man reading this post: like Hancock, you may have superpowers that you are letting go to waste. Please do not continue to do so.
I was no different than Hancock. Getting up at 7am on a Saturday morning to fix cereal? That was nowhere near heroic to me, nor was changing diapers. I HATED it. Does that sound bad? I hope so, because it should also sound honest. Heroism is selfless, and up until the very moment you have a child your entire life has been focused on yourself. Shifting that focus to someone else entirely — becoming selfless — is difficult. Impossible for some.
During weekends my twin daughters would spend with me, I had to make conscious decisions to get to bed at a certain time to be up to go to the zoo. Grocery shopping had to consist of more than cereal and microwavable dinner trays. I had to change my views on women — real time — when my daughters were around, because they were watching. I had to live and breathe consistency.
Going to sleep at a certain time, grocery shopping and looking at women with a newfound respect were just some of the superpowers my twin daughters brought out of me. One of the most important and powerful abilities fatherhood has imbued me with has been imagination. Creativity is the only way to describe how you feed, clothe and entertain another human being when you don’t have enough resources to accomplish those feats for yourself.
My daughters taught me how powerful I am and how many special abilities I truly possess. I knew they were always there, but I never thought about using them for the good of other people. In Hancock, Will Smith finally realizes who he is once he is introduced to Charlize Theron’s character, Mary. Why is Mary so significant? Because she shows Hancock what he is truly capable of when he is not thinking about just himself.
He accesses true love for the first time he can remember.
Real dads understand that those few first years, you ARE superman to your son or daughter. No one is stronger than you are, smarter or possesses a greater ability to kill monsters. I personally try to continue my feats of superhuman strength by surprising my daughters with concert tickets, random phone calls and an occasional item that is the difference between life and death (i.e. an iPhone).
Often the kissed scrapes, vanquished closet monsters or quiet sacrifices are lumped together and pulled down into a canvas of normal human deeds, never once breathing the air and standing in the light of heroism they rightfully deserve.
Today is the day for all superhero fathers to fill their lungs DEEP. To let their heroics be recognized and exalted beyond reproach. If you have been saving lives in the shadows for one year, ten years or a lifetime, then today — FATHER’S DAY — please take your bow and smile at the accolades you have rightfully earned.
Dads, remember you were special LONG before today. Thank you for embracing your powers and using them for good. The world is a better place for it.
P.S. Game seven of the NBA Finals are tonight…..on Father’s Day….. If the universe is with you, who can be against you?