Every kid has a hero. Whether it’s dad or mom or the local high school football star or a well known athlete or singer.
Kids want heroes. And they will find some, one way or another. And many times, when they find those heroes, they watch them very very closely and often try to be like them. Cuz that’s just what kids do.
The question is: what kind of hero will your child choose?
Of course, we’d rather have our kids look up to people who set good examples. No parent wants their kid idolizing a druggie or a thief or a person who takes advantage of other people.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad examples out there competing for your child’s adoration. How can you help him pick a worthy hero?
What to look for in a hero
There is no perfect hero, because there there are no perfect people. But there are good qualities that a parent should want his child’s hero to have:
- Compassion. Love it when I see famous folks spend their time and money on helping others.
- Faithfulness. To spouses, families, friends; faithfulness to a good cause.
- Honesty. Even heroes mess up, but can they be honest and admit mistakes? If so, we can forgive.
- Humility. Deserving heroes don’t focus on their hero-ness. They focus on others.
Introducing a worthy hero to your child
If your child has chosen to idolize someone who does not have these qualities, it’s a good time for you to introduce him to some worthwhile heroes.
- Introduce your child to the chosen hero(s). Take your son or daughter to a sports event or concert featuring the hero. Tell your child about the hero and his accomplishments and what to look for when you see the hero in action.
- Read a book or watch a movie together about the hero. Have a conversation with your child about what makes the person a hero and what qualities he sees in the hero.
- Gotta make the hero exciting and fun. Kids are not going to be drawn to the character qualities that you may see; they want fun and excitement, and someone with the cool factor. Help them find that in your chosen hero.
- Re-examine your own heroes. Do they live up to the standards you want for your kids’ heroes? Your kids are watching and even if they don’t choose the same hero, they have been given permission to choose a hero just like you’ve chosen.
Why bother with heroes?
Do kids need heroes? I think so. Heroes inspire and motivate us to be better people. They give us lifelong memories.
My 21-year-old son has been a Florida State fan since he was old enough to sit on the couch and watch football with his dad, which started about 19 years ago. He grew up watching Bobby Bowden coach and so when he heard Bobby was going to be speaking locally, he fought tooth and nail to get an invite to the dinner.
It was a night he will never forget. He met Bobby, talked with Bobby, had Bobby sign a book, and a hat for him, had his picture taken with Bobby. As he watched Bobby feebly walk off stage, he knew he was experiencing a treasured moment. Bobby, one of the greatest football coaches ever, is 82 years old; his prime is past, but his influence lives on. Here is a coach who loved his players and spent his life teaching them to be better men.
Bobby Bowden is a hero to my son. Has been for years and probably always will be. He is a hero that I am pleased to have my son look up to. And it all began when he started watching FSU football with his dad on the couch.
It’s time to pick a hero
Be intentional about helping your child pick heroes. Help him choose ones that are worthy of lasting a life time; those are the ones that will make the biggest impact on your child’s life.
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