Super Hero

Watching one of our grandsons dress up as “Larry-Boy” and suction “bad guys” with his super ears is very entertaining. He will dart around the house wearing his cape and vanquish all foes. It’s all fun until his little brothers are the “bad guys” and then his efforts to eliminate them create problems.

As humans, we all love to celebrate heroes. We love our sports heroes, our military heroes, and our civic heroes. We celebrate their accomplishments, and we are crushed when they disappoint us by being human.

The fact that children have heroes can be a positive thing. If their hero demonstrates the kind of character that encourages Godly behavior, that can be a powerful influence in the child’s life for good. Yet heroes often change as a child’s interest changes. It may be a cowboy or princess when they are very young, then change to an Olympic soccer player or singing star. As children are young, parents can control much of what their child is exposed to and therefore whom they choose as a hero.

I remember one of our daughters wanting to be like Mia Hamm. She was a prominent soccer player for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill during that time and went on to be an Olympic soccer star as well. Ms. Hamm was a quiet, hard-working individual that stayed away from the spotlight, often deferring to her teammates even when the focus of the media was on her. This was a positive example of putting the team first over the individual, an important quality in team sports.

The most important heroes for our children are those who demonstrate a love for God and His Word. Sadly, our culture does not often acknowledge the selfless sacrifice of the real heroes of the faith, so as parents we must make that effort. We must remember that only God is perfect, so even the most upright individual may fall, especially if they are put up on a pedestal. We could fill pages with names of prominent Christians who have fallen short of God’s glory, as we have ourselves.

In Hebrews there is a passage that is sometimes referred to as the Faith Hall of Fame. These heroes were just living their lives when God stepped in and required them to step out in faith.

Hebrews 11:7, 11, 12, 31-40

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen,in holy fear built an arkto save his family.By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

 11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead,came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

31 By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient.

32 And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. 

Goodness!!! Shut the mouths of lions! Escaped the edge of the sword! Sawed in half! This is better then Robin Hood. These people paid the price and are true heroes of the Faith.

I always love to hear young adults who are walking with God share about the people who have led them on their path as Christians. Sometimes they mention someone who was not even aware of the positive role they have played in the spiritual life of that person. It may be a Sunday School teacher, a coach, a youth leader, or parent of a friend – some unsung hero who lived a life of Godly influence day by day. These are the SUPER HEROES!


Do you remember a time when you enjoyed dressing up like a princess, a cowboy, cowgirl, fireman, or pirate? Our granddaughters like to play school right now and emulate their teachers. Being a teacher myself, it blesses me to see them line up their dolls and teach them letters, words, or colors. I especially enjoy hearing them read stories to their “class”. They do various voices so well. It is also a bit disconcerting to hear them talk harshly to their students… have they heard me talk that way? Are they copying my tone of voice and facial expression?

Children learn roles in society, school, family, and even church by observing the people in their lives and imitating them.

A very revealing situation can be watching our children play house. If one chooses to be the mother, or the big sister, dad, baby, etc. notice the way they interact imitating that chosen role. If the “mom” acts bossy, it could be that the child sees that played out at home. Yet, it may be that the child has a personality that tends to take charge – (ask my brothers about that!) Most incriminating to me was the way the “mom” talked to the “child”. It seemed so harsh and demanding! Where did she learn that? Certainly not from me, her real mother!

Truth be told, our children do learn words, tone of voice, and even facial expressions from watching the adults in their lives. Often it is cause for laughter, sometimes it is cause for shame. A grandmother recently told me the concern she felt over some language her young grandchild has picked up. Often we don’t have control over what our children see or hear, yet personally, we can be the best example possible. I have heard adults laugh when hearing a toddler say a questionable word that the child obviously does not know the meaning of. Yet the laughter communicates pleasure and the little child will repeat those words to cause laughter again. Hint – what seems cute at 2 or 3 years old is not so cute at 10 or 12 years old.

In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul encourages us to be imitators of God. He uses the example of a well-loved child imitating his father. I think this certainly can apply to a child imitating her mother as well. I like the way the Amplified Bible translates this text.

Ephesians 5:1-2    Amplified Bible 

 1THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. 2And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us,
slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.
Notice that Paul says “well-loved” child. Children are less likely to imitate a parent that does not show them the love they desire and need. Paul goes on to say “and walk in love,” so that love is the foundation of the respectful relationships we should have with one another. Finally, Paul sites Jesus as the example of sacrificial love, the kind of love we must have for each other, and definitely for our children.
Our challenge as parents and grandparents is to talk and live in such a way that when the little ones imitate us, it will honor our Heavenly Father, and fill our hearts with joy and thanksgiving.



I am beginning my second week in the home of our youngest daughter, which besides her includes our son-in-law, an almost 3 year-old, twin one year-olds, and (the reason I am here) an 8 day old – all boys. Needless to say it is a busy place, also blessed by the joy and love that sweetens the lack of sleep. The 3-year-old is in that stage of asking “Why?” in response to all requests, comments, and random statements. At first, it is engaging to answer the “whys” of life. “Why?” do we wear socks with shoes? To prevent blisters. “Why?” is it nap time? This question has various answers – it is time, you are tired, mom is tired, or any other response deemed appropriate at the time. “Why?” when told to stay in his bed, because there is not room in the crib with your twin brothers.

After answering hundreds of questions, Nana does get tired of thinking about the answers to the meaning of life and all it involves. Yet, as a teacher, I know that these questions and answers are important and will form the basis of our grandson’s world view. Recent research in brain development shows that at around three years old there is a great growth in synapses in the brain, and that if they are not used during this formative time, those synapses are pruned. Just as a gardener prunes off useless branches, God has fashioned our brain to do likewise.

We want our children to have optimum use of the amazing organ  – the brain. Answering their questions is the first and best way for them to learn about the world around them. It will also lay the foundation of a life long pattern of asking questions, opinions and seeking advice from us, their parents.  If we respond to them now with, “Why do you ask so many questions?” “I’m busy – ask…..”, or worst of all, ignore their questions, they will quit asking and/or find someone else to ask.

There is certainly a time for questions to stop for a while. The previously mentioned nap time and bed time, for example. Yet this can be done in a way that is respectful of the child’s natural curiosity. There may even be a specific time given for answering such as after nap, after breakfast, etc. This lets your child know that their questions are important, but that the current time is not conducive to answering those questions. I also am quick to admit that I didn’t know all the answers to questions posed by my children or now my grandchildren. It is absolutely fine to say “I don’t know.” But don’t stop there. The next comment from us should be, “I’ll help you find out.” As a child gets older, you may even ask them, “Who do you think we can ask about this?”

As our children get even older, they will be looking up answers on the internet. A caution – the values we want to pass on to our children and grandchildren may not be the values promoted by the information the child receives on-line. If we have built a foundation of love and respect our values will be more apt to be accepted by these growing children.

God does not always answer us right away. God is not governed by our time-table or our sense of “needing to know”. In fact, He says in I Corinthians 13: 8-13

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.     Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.   13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

God lets us know that while we are part of this human experience,  we will not understand everything. (see italicized above) We do have the hope of coming into full knowledge when we are face to face with God. What an awesome expectation!

So, until then, I will continue learning all I can so I can answer my grandchildrens’ questions. I will also endeavor to answer the countless “whys?” with patience and love…..for the greatest of these is love.