What Superheroes and Parents Can’t Do

Not Yet a ManWho is your favorite Superhero? Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Hulk? Whoever it may be, think of the powers he/she has.  Maybe, the superhero has tremendous strength, amazing speed, can fly, or is a super genius. I know what the superhero can’t do.

Stop time. That’s right. Not even a superhero can stop time. Remember the first Superman Movie with Christopher Reeve? Superman learns that Lois Lane has died, and he’s distraught. So, he flies incredibly fast and makes time go backwards. I remember watching that scene and thinking it was so cool. Anyway, superheroes can go back in time but not stop it.

“I’m a man now,” said BR. He deliberately said it in a deeper voice than is his usual.  He knew what he said wasn’t true.

But it’s not so far off. My son turned 11 this week. Someday soon, he’ll make that same declaration, “I’m a man now.” He won’t have to make his voice deep because it will already be so, and he will be serious. Or he won’t say it all and simply act the part – working, driving, and fending for his own self.

I hear the clock ticking. I also see it. I see it in his actions – his attempts to be more mature, his desire for independence, and his growing interest in his friends.

Don’t take any of this as rushing the process. I’m not in rush for this to happen. I’m also not longing for the baby days – though there is something genuinely sweet about holding a helpless baby whose needs are generally easily fulfilled – I’m mostly content with the stage my boys are in now.

So, I’d like to fly like Superman did in the movie, but rather than go back in time, I would slow it down. I would make the years longer – say 500 days instead of 365. Pretty awesome, right?  I know, I know. Just saying it would have some very cool benefits – like being able to spend more time with my children.

Okay, I can’t hold back, delay, or extend time. No point in even dreaming of it.

Yet, sometimes I think I may be holding BR back.

He and I read together every night before he goes to bed. While I have read that it is good even for older children to be read to and am a huge advocate of reading with your children, he might not need me anymore, and It might be better for him to be on his own.

Since the end of September, BR and I have been reading Harry Potter.  We’re now up to Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. I’m enjoying the books. And I never would have read it if not for reading with BR.  Besides reading the books and watching the movies, we discuss them as well. We are our own book club.

But I don’t care about Harry Potter (well, maybe a little). It’s about hanging out with BR. It’s about doing something with my son. We don’t just read at night. We talk. About stuff. Some nights it’s more than other nights. But the opportunity is there.

I don’t want him to go up to his room, turn around and say to me, “I got this dad.”

So, I may be babying him.

And, it’s not just the reading. There are other ways I may be holding my son back. You know how sometimes you just do things yourself rather than having the child do it. After all, you reason, you can do it faster and better.  Yeah, I do that – often.  Whether it’s straightening up his room, sweeping the floor, etc., I should stop or at least do this less often.  I know it doesn’t help BR. Not in the long run at least.  The days will go by, and the years will pass regardless of what I do or don’t do.  He’ll need to be independent.

Ultimately, it’s my job to help BR grow up and mature. Some of the growth will happen naturally. However, in ways that I can help or make a positive impact, I need to do so. That’s the job I got 11 years ago when he was born. It’s called parenthood. And parents, like superheroes, can’t slow down time.

But I’m still reading with BR for as long as he’ll allow it. Or at least until we finish the last Harry Potter book.

14 thoughts on “What Superheroes and Parents Can’t Do

  1. Guilty as charged, I, too, do things for my sons that I know they can do for themselves. We read to our twins every night. They turn ten in a couple of days. We asked them recently if they thought it was time to stop reading aloud.
    No way! was their answer. It is hard to know what is important to kids.
    I really like this post, Larry. Your tone is very loving. Your boy/man will be glad to read this someday.
    Peace to you, you’re doing it right, friend.

    • Glad you liked this post. Some feel more right than others – this was such a post.
      I do love the reading thing. I figure when he says stop, I will. Till then, I’m going on.

  2. Kids are pretty good at letting us know when they are ready to take a step forward, maybe not in all areas but enough that I am sure you’ll know when you need to step back.

    I think you have this handled pretty well.

    • I’m trying and I am certainly aware of it. I hope that puts me one step ahead. I’m also trying to read his cues.

  3. I’m so with you about slowing down time! I’ve been savorying moments as I know I’m running out of time!

  4. It can be difficult to stop doing things for them when we can do it so much more quickly ourselves. But like you say, it doesn’t do them any favors to do this. We have to prepare them for when they’re on their own. My oldest will be 18 this month and in college soon. I’m really hoping I’ve given him all the skills he needs. He might not be thrilled with having to do his own laundry, cook some of his own meals, etc., but the more he does on his own, the better off he’ll be.

    He and I used to read Harry Potter together too. Remains one of my fondest memories with him. 🙂

    • College still sounds so far away but I know it will be here in a blink of an eye. Good luck to your son as he goes off to college next fall. I have a feeling it will make it into some of your posts.
      It’s cool that you also had a Harry Potter experience with your son. I hope we will look on it as fondly.

  5. I just love this post, Larry. You and your son seem to be an amazing team and book club. I know fathers who play the X-box to spend some quality time with their sons. In my opinion you’re doing much better!

    • Thanks Aurora. I really appreciate that. Reading is one of the things we do together and might just be my favorite.

  6. Audrey and Eric are also reading the Harry Potter series and forming a tiny little book club. Eric read them to get a feel for if they were appropriate or not, and he’s a little concerned with the levels of maturity and violence in the later books– he thinks the books sort of grow up with the kids. I’ll be interested to see what you think!

    • I see that they are rougher. I like them better. Whether he will, I’m not 100% sure. So far, I don’t have a problem with them. We already heard that a main character dies. We’ve had losses in our family. So, I’m not so worried about reading this in a book.

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