My son and I love Batman (be it in movies–cartoons or the comics). He is our favorite superhero.
He somehow thinks I am Batman, (he says that he’s Robin, when we play). As his dad, I realize I am SO-NOT Batman, or any other kind of superhero. I am a 40-year-old, slightly overweight guy (working on losing that badge).
I don’t see this larger-then-life character my son sees me as. Do I think it is awesome that he sees me this way? Of course I do. But, I know that the way he sees me won’t last forever. Maybe, I should just enjoy this ride for as long as possible. But, a funny thing happened the other day that got me to change my thinking on this…
Maybe, as parents, we are ALL Batman.
My son and I were watching a YouTube clip of the ending to The Dark Knight. It’s the part where Batman and Gordon are talking about Gotham losing it’s white knight in Harvey Dent. The more I watch that exchange, the more I recognized something similar in that discussion and our roles as dads/parents.
They say of Harvey Dent:
“We bet it all on him. The Joker took the best of us and torn him down. People will lose hope.”
Batman then states to Gordon,
“They won’t. The Joker cannot win. Gotham needs its true hero.”
No matter how great we each are as a parent, we have a day that just piles on and then piles on some more. It makes us lose hope in ourselves, and it feels like our children will lose faith in the person they see us as. But that’s not the end… Batman says,
“You either die a hero or you live long enough to find yourself the villain. I can do those things. Because I am not a hero.”
He then goes on to say that he did all those bad things Dent did.
“I killed those people–that is what I can be.”
“NO, no. You CAN’T, you’re NOT!”
“I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be.”
This is what we are to our kids: we are whatever they need us to be.
- Sometimes we are their buddy, playing with them having fun.
- At other times, we have to be the meanie/”bad” guy–we need to make sure they do the things they need to do. We make them eat their dinner/breakfast/lunch.
- We make sure they don’t get hurt or injured.
- We play the role that they need–all for their well-being.
So, we are what our children need us to be. Sometimes, we are the hero and sometimes they think we’re the villain. But, we always do what is best for them.
My son is right in this… I am his “silent guardian, a watchful protector, a Dark Knight.” I will always be a Batman, and I will always do whatever I can to keep him safe from harm, and full of hope.