Every child needs a hero.
I can remember that growing up I had two heroes – my Dad and Michael Jordan. I wanted so bad to be the next MJ and one day play in the NBA. I also wanted to become a pastor like my father. (One of the two came true.)
In addition to superheroes or stars on the big screen, your children have people in their lives that they idolize and look up to as well – real-life heroes in their eyes. And you need to know who they are, or maybe even be that person yourself.
Our children desperately need someone that they can look up to, admire, and even emulate. This could be a parent, a mentor, a friend, or even a sibling, an aunt, an uncle, or a pastor or teacher. But regardless of who it is, every child needs a hero, because as my pastor, Josh Beutow, recently said, “The most powerful influence we have is the power of example,” and this is especially true in the life of a child.
So, if you want to be your child’s hero, here are three simple ways to make it happen in the coming year:
1. Give them your unconditional LOVE
There are two primary things that every child needs, especially from their parents – clear boundaries and unconditional love. And if those two needs are met, many others things in their development will naturally fall into place. Your child deserves a hero who believes in them, cheers for them, and accepts them in their highest and lowest points of life. Your child needs and desires your unconditional love.
A child needs someone to love them when they are unloveable, care for them when they just don’t care themselves, and be their biggest fan when they fail as well as when they succeed. They need someone who will show them how to live and set an example for them of how to love.
You ask any child who their real-life hero is, and it won’t take them long to know who it is, even if they won’t tell you. And mark it down, the person they choose is someone who loves them unconditionally.
2. Give them your irreplaceable TIME.
Every person gets the same amount of time every day, no matter who they are. Because time is no respecter of persons. No one gets more. No one gets less. So when you take your valuable time and generously invest it into a young life, that child takes notice of that. They appreciate it, look forward to it, and even want more of it because it makes them feel special. And it should.
My oldest sister, Amy, does an amazing job of this, as she has a tradition of taking each of her nieces and nephews out by themselves each year for their birthday just to spend time together eating, shopping, and having fun. And each of the kids adores Aunt Amy for it.
Kids are far smarter than we often give them credit for. And the way we spend our irreplaceable times speaks volumes about what we value most. Children know when we prioritize them as well as when we’re pushing them to the side. Heroes don’t become heroes without sacrificing a part of themselves to make a difference in the life of another. Giving your time and attention to a child can make you a hero in their eyes.
3. Give them your non-negotiable RULES.
As already mentioned, of the two things every child needs, one of them is clear boundaries. While children naturally resist boundaries, they still desire them. Because boundaries bring safety to life just like a guardrail brings a sense of security when you walk close to a ledge. Clear and enforced boundaries communicate love and concern to our children. They demonstrate that someone is looking out for them and that someone cares about what happens to them.
I can remember a kid who came from a home with very little structure telling me, “I wish my parents loved me enough to give me rules like your kids have.” Wow… It was obvious to him that our family’s rules were a clear sign of our love and concern for our children, and he desired to experience that kind of love firsthand himself. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of clearly defined and consistently enforced boundaries in the life of your child.
God wired kids to need lots of these three things – love, time, and rules.
And while they may idolize that singer or that athlete from a distance, the person that gives them a proper balance of these three things on a personal level is truly who becomes ‘hero material’ in their eyes – their superman or superwoman, and potentially one of the most influential people in their life.
Every child needs a hero. Every child is looking for one. Whose hero will you be?