By Betty Thomason Owens
Comic book heroes were one-dimensional when I read my big brother’s latest editions. Superman was my favorite, with Captain America in a close second.
Many early comic book writers meant to inspire children to read and also to impart good morals. Does that surprise you? It shouldn’t. Heroes, in our minds at least, are usually superior in some way. Like Captain America, they show bravery in the face of difficulty and step up when called upon, whether it’s to save a kitten from a fire or the whole world from a dangerous criminal.
A superhero stares down fear and walks into dangerous circumstances for the greater good. How many little boys aspire to do this? I grew up with brothers then raised three sons. I’ve watched enough cartoons and movies, read comic books, and observed enough little-boy-games to tell you this with some certainty. They love heroes and they aspire to become one.
My sons grew up studying heroes, beginning with some of the greatest of all time, Samson, David, Joshua. Reading about these biblical heroes inspired them to believe that anything is possible. Like the comic book heroes, these men often made human errors. Really, this makes them more human in our eyes. For instance, Samson is publicly humiliated when he loses his power. But he repents and in his final moments, completely annihilates his enemy, and makes history in the process. It is said that Superman’s creator modeled him after Samson and Hercules, with superior strength, ready to right wrongs and fight for justice.
Some little boys and little girls do grow up to be heroes. They move beyond the childhood stories and games to work in hospitals, on fire crews, police squads, as soldiers, teachers, and even pastors. The greatest of these don’t do it for notoriety, but because they want to do it.
They become the greatest heroes to their children as the process begins again, to inspire leadership and inner strength, an abiding faith, rooted deeply in the Word of God and the greatest hero of all, Jesus Christ. The one who gave his life one time, for all of us.
Next week, I’ll write about a different kind of hero. Heroes of the Faith, who gave up ordinary lives to accomplish the extraordinary. I hope you’ll stop back by. And don’t miss our special Wednesdays here, when we ask one of our favorite authors 3 Questions.
Today’s Prompt – Finish this statement: “I think my dad is Superman, because…” Have fun with it!