As I look at my kids and watch them grow up before my very eyes I at times reflect back to when I was their age. Lately I've found myself doing this with my daughter Joy. She is 9 and is beginning to enjoy basketball herself, but she's far from obsessed - awhile back she actually asked me, "Mom, who's Michael Jordan?" (Obviously I'm no longer obsessed either...my 20 year old self would have considered that complete failure!!)
He was one of my heroes, along with Cynthia Cooper, BJ Armstrong and Teresa Edwards - I could only dream of playing basketball like they did. As a kid I had other heroes too...the basketball players on our school's varsity team - these were people I looked up to and wanted to be. The other day I came across one of the first poems I ever remember writing; it was simply titled "Hero".
The first few lines read -
"I look at you, wish I could be what you are, who you are.
Whenever I see you performing your best, I think only if I could be.
When you talk to me, I don't know what to say,
I admire you, but yet I'm afraid,
No, not of you, but what you might think of me."
Back in the day I wrote those words thinking they were about my heroes, but now I realize they really were about me. I was a kid who struggled with my identity...I didn't just want to do the things they did, I wanted to be them instead of me. I was a kid who worried about what others thought and honestly, now I'm an adult who sometimes still does the same.
So fast forward to today...my kids are not yet in junior high, but next year my oldest will hit middle school and I know they are already looking to role models beyone their dad and me. I'm praying they will follow the example of good, Godly ones. "Heroes" who will encourage them to worship the One who is a HERO! "Heroes" who point them to the One who created them to be who they are instead of leave them wishing they were someone else. "Heroes" they can talk to free of fear and worry of what they might think. "Heroes" who follow Christ so my kids can learn to do the same!!
Just yesterday I was reminded God is already answering my prayers for roles models in my children's lives. He is giving them "Heroes" to look up to and learn from...many friends and family close by and others from far away. As a Mom, I am very grateful, but I know it doesn't stop there.
Friend, Deuteronomy 6:7-9 instructs us to "Impress them (the commands to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and strength) on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates." As parents it is our job to instruct our children in the faith and part of that process is praying for the ones who they look to as "Heroes" and pointing them to role models who follow the model, Jesus Christ.
And the biggest part is setting an example ourselves...whether we like it or not our children see and mimic the things we do. This is obvious when they are toddlers, but also true as they continue to grow - I see myself in my daughter's actions more now than I did when she was three. I'm sorry to admit not all of the things I see are good things.
I'm thankful God gives us grace, but also knows He expects us to keep growing as well!! May we remember this - as Mom's we can't save them, but we can serve them. Our words and tones can discourage them, so let's be intentional and encourage them! We can't do the impossible things super-heroes do, but we can point them to and teach them about the One who possess more power than Superman ever will! We can love them unconditionally just like Christ loves us!!
In closing, I'd love to share a song by Connersvine with you titled, you guessed it - "Hero"! I heard Hunter Smith share the story behind this song and I appreciated the words he shared about being a parent; I pray these lyrics will encourage you as well! Remember though our kids may never say we're their "hero" that doesn't mean we shouldn't try living like we are!!