“You have to be like Superman for your kids” This is what my Uncle told me once when we were talking about how to raise kids. It was his advice to me. He meant well. He was being supportive and encouraging. But I dug a little deeper and it seemed the advice also meant that I needed to be strong, capable and be like a hero to my kids. Not so bad…or is it?
My first thought was, “that’s going to be pretty hard” After all, sometimes I’m not strong, sometimes I goof up, and sometimes I need help. Didn’t sound very hero-like to me. Alas, superman, I am not. I suppose I could have tried to fake it though. And I don’t think I would have been the first Dad to act like this, to put on a brave face. But why? Why are we doing this? Why are Dads putting on this show, especially for their sons?”
The logic seemed shady. The motives hinted at insecurity. No one is Superman. So who pretends to be something they are not? Someone who doesn’t feel okay with who he is…is all I could come up with. And that is sad. It’s a hard living a life of pretend and never feeling quite good enough.
Well I’m here to tell you. There is a gigantic strength in being exactly who you are. Holding up an artifice is tiring anyway. Facades will eventually break down, crumble, and leave mess and confusion in their wake. Being authentic actually frees you. When we are honest, we are strong. When we are strong we can do great things… things that were meant for us.
Authentic is the new strong. Truth is your new super power. If you aren’t feeling confident, that’s okay. If you need help, ask for it. If you are scared of something, say so. It will free you from the facade and provide your children with a real model to learn from.
And you will be rewarded… not just with some short-lived awe and admiration that you managed to coax out of a small child, but an enduring sense of love and trust from your kids and those around you. And that stuff is the real deal.
“You have to be strong, be their hero” “Never let them see you sweat (or cry).” I call Bullshit.
Be real. Be vulnerable. Be you.