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What does it mean to be a Dad or a hero

832197.thbMy great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.”  Abraham Lincoln

I ask myself this question each day–upon waking and at the end of each day. Can I do better? Have I done enough? Will this cause massive amounts of therapy in a few years? Will that fall lead to a scar? Can I play the good guy today? Am I enough? These are questions all dad’s ask– heck all parents. I go to bed each night thinking: I could have done this better, or that quicker. Or, I wish I didn’t say “no” so often. Am I doing right by my son? Am I the role model I should be? Am I a better dad then my father was? Am I too tough on him? We ask these questions, because we need to, we want too, and because we must–for the sake of our child’s well-being and for our own well being.

Asking these questions are what makes us good dads (parents), or at least pretty alright ones. That which makes us better dads will also make us better human beings, which will make us better role models, which will someday make our children better people, and give them a base to teach their kids what a good person should be. With summer movies like Star Trek Into Darkness, Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel, it brings to mind that my son will have heroes to look up to, that are not me or his mother, which I am ok with. I am old, so not a billionaire, and the only six-pack I have, is in my frig.  I am so flawed and not-hero material, which is more anti-hero then full-on hero.

Growing up, my heroes were Batman and James Tiberius Kirk, characters larger then life (with ideals that were worth striding towards). I had real life hero’s as well: Abraham Lincoln, Vince Lombardi, as well as my grandfather. All of these people stood for what was right in my small sphere of existences, all sharing in the idea of what should be right in the world. As I grew up and got to reading about all my heroes, I came to understand that they were also human, and they weren’t perfect. They were flawed.

Lincoln suffered from melancholy (what we call depression today). We all know Batman’s story. Kirk had all the human failings. Lombardi was a great coach but was a pretty tough father. My grandfather was an equally tough father for my Mom.

Even through all the depression, Lincoln lead our country through a dark time, helping us to define what direction our moral compass should be pointed. Lombardi was not just about winning football games, he was about building men into great men, becoming a team. In sports, as in life, building a team makes us great. My grandfather was always great to me–taught me how to play catch, and what love and family really means.

So, all my heroes were flawed, yet larger then life. They all have ideals and a good moral center. Isn’t that what makes heroes? In my eyes, these men are great, incredible heroes.

“Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process we will catch excellence. I am not remotely interested in just being good.”,  Vince Lombardi, first team meeting with the Packers. 

Lombardi’s Packer would play in 6 Championship games, winning 5 NFL Championships ( 2 Super Bowls ) a 9-1 postseason record, in 9 seasons as Green Bays coach.

So I strive everyday to be a better dad to my son–in the hopes that he will be a better dad then I am.

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