Becoming a Superhero!

The Pulse-Pounding Origin!

From my earliest memories, I had two life goals: become a writer and become a superhero. I had everything all planned out; I was going to train in martial arts for several years, then I would make a costume for myself (in the classic red and blue). Finally, I would introduce myself to the local police and let them know that I was going to be helping them to apprehend all the villains of the city.

This was my honest goal. I was fully convinced that this would be how I lived my life, writing novels by day and fighting crime by night. In my childhood understanding of the universe, wanting something was enough to know that you would eventually have it. I didn’t consider any alternatives because I didn’t need to.

As the years went by, life interfered with those plans. I never did learn martial arts beyond a few week’s worth of judo, but I did design my costume. It was pretty snazzy, too, so it is a shame that I was never able to make use of it. It also should have been evident that I wouldn’t really become a crime-fighter given that I always needed to toss a dog biscuit down the stairs into the basement before going down, so that my dog would lead the way and distract any monsters living there while I ran and grabbed whatever I needed.

By the time I was a teenager, a secret identity may have been useful. I was rather shy and so having a mask to hide behind may have been liberating in some ways, but it never really happened. The closest I came to heroics in those days was to take up archery and swordplay in an attempt to emulate Robin Hood.

Throughout those years, I was reading a lot of comics. I still had the dreams of being a hero, but had now resigned myself to living vicariously through Spider-Man, Batman and others. It was also around that time that I started to play various role-playing games. I loved the Marvel Super Heroes game, but even when I played Dungeons & Dragons, I would often play a Paladin, the epitome of the “good guy” in that game. When I joined a group that played other, darker games like Shadowrun, I still played my character as someone with a strong moral code, often with outfits that bordered on superhero costumes.

As an adult, I never lost my love of superheroes and still wanted to do something in life that would let me help people. I ran through a number of career options, ranging from doctor to police officer, but for various reasons never pursued any of them (that other dream of being a writer was still on my mind through it all). When the late, great MMO City of Heroes appeared on the scene, I fell in love. I was able to design my character, design his uniform, choose his powers, and then go fight all manner of super villains. I figured that this was as close as I would ever get to being a hero (aside from maybe virtual reality at some point).

Then the magic happened.

A Hero This Way Comes!

When my first son was born, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life (the other highest point being the birth of my second). I was thrilled with this new addition to my family and looked forward to all the amazing things we would be doing in the future. One of those things, of course, would be sharing a love of comics and superheroes. I didn’t expect that my son would allow me to become more of a hero than I ever imagined.

Family heroics

My boys have friends who have, sadly, grown up without their dads. In some cases, the dad left when they were young. In other cases, they left before the kids had the chance to know them. In far too many other cases, the dads are at home, but almost completely uninvolved in the lives of their kids.

My family is everything to me. They are the reason that I wake up each morning. They are the reason I want to better myself, so that I can provide more for them. I am far from a perfect dad; I have a temper at times, I can sometimes be too lenient and other times be too harsh, and then there are times where work keeps me away from them more than I want, but when I am with them, I try to be with them.

I like to think that I have a pretty good relationship with my boys. Again, it’s not perfect, but I don’t know if that  is even possible. Maybe it’s not even desirable. After all, having flaws and difficulties that we can strive to overcome lets us teach our kids how to do the same. My boys know that life is messy. It’s hard. It’s not always fun. They also know that the most important thing is to love and support one another.

At a point in my life when I had stopped thinking it was possible to be a hero, I became one, simply by doing my best to be a good father. This is something that any parent can do as well. If you want to be a hero, then be there for your kids. Your TV shows can wait. Your cell phone can be put down for a while. Things can wait. Your kids need you. Being a parent is hard work, but it is also the only way most of us will ever get to experience being a hero.

Growing up, I thought that being a hero was about saving lives. That certainly does qualify, but we often underestimate the effect we can have by simply being present in a life. We can guide our kids, make them better than we are. We can build an amazing future simply by raising amazing kids. Any one of us could raise a child to be a president or prime minister. Maybe a scientist or a doctor. Maybe an astronaut. Maybe just someone who is in the right place at the right time to help someone who needs them.

If we all do that, we can all be heroes, and the world can be the kind of place we have only dreamed about.


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8 thoughts on “Becoming a Superhero!”

  1. I totally get where you are coming from.

    I could not contemplate life without my son and daughter and any child that grows without a parent I do feel quite sorry for them AND the missing parent. There is so much joy to be had as a care giver, watching this young human grow and mould and learn.

    Life certainly gets in the way of our plans, doesnt it? I wanted to be the next Kurt Cobain (in musical terms anyway!), but school and college and now children have scuppered that somewhat, but overall I know can still be my kids superhero. I know my daughter and son look up to me for guidance, and I want to be the best I can be for them as well as myself!


    1. Ah, yes, I also had musical ambitions!… but no musical ability!

      There really is nothing better than seeing your kids grow and develop. I am extremely grateful that for the most of my first son’s early life, my work schedule was such that I was home with him a great deal, certainly much more than the average parent. Now with my second son, recent circumstances have allowed me to be home with him as well, though that is likely to change soon.

      Thank you very much for taking the time to comment! I appreciate it!

  2. Sounds like your children have an amazing superhero in their Dad. When I was young we all wanted to be teenage mutant ninja turtles, but sadly life got in the way of that dream. Couldn’t see myself living in the sewers.

    But I have to say you sound like a person who is full of life, yet not afraid to disclose yourself. Like you, my daughter lets her Dog lead because she’s afraid the monsters. Except he gets no dog treat, he just has to do to protect her. I love your post. I’m curious what kind of costume did you end up making?

    1. Sadly, my sewing skills never developed to a point where I could create it…But if you can visualise this, it was red on the torso, gloves and boots, with blue arms and legs.The mask was red, similar to Batman’s cowl, but without the ears… Later, when “dark” heroes started to become popular, I designed a second costume that was pretty much body armour, but I don’t remember it too well aside from the mask, which was somewhat similar to the character Deathstroke, with one side black and the other side a skull.

      I feel for your dog. At least mine received a treat for risking his life. 🙂 Poor dogs, though. I imagine many kids try to sacrifice them to the monsters dwelling in the basement, attic, under the bed, or wherever.

      My younger son is a big fan of the Turtles, too. My elder one was, but now he’s into more “adult” things, being a teenager. That didn’t stop him from joining us when me, my wife and other son dressed up as Leo, Donnie and Raph… I think it’s pretty cool that characters I grew up with are still popular enough that my kids can like them too. I agree, though, that living in the sewer would probably suck.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  3. Hi Craig,
    Really, love this article and your story. Me personally went crazy about wanted to become a hero. I tried Karate and I joined the army soon after graduated from high school. I’m glad I stumbled upon your site as you provided some great information.
    As you mention in the article, me too, my family is everything to me. There are times where work keeps me away from them more than I want.
    Now, I don’t want to be a hero anymore. Just want to be a good dad for my son.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Well, that’s the thing… I think that be being a good dad, you are being a hero. You are shaping a life that will in turn shape many others. By raising our children well, we are placing our mark on the future and potentially changing the world. Heroism isn’t just in the big, life-changing events; most of the time it’s in the quiet moments with someone you love.

      I also have had moments where work has kept me away from my kids far more than I wanted, but I have been lucky over the past several years in that my work schedule has been pretty flexible, allowing me to be home when I needed to be. I am very grateful for that.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Your post made left me tear eyed…

    Although I’m still a teen of 19, but I can so much relate to your words. I mean there was a time when I had the same dream. I still have that dream of being a super hero. But somehow life never stays the same. Although it takes us years to grow into an adult but it still feels as if everything went by in a flick of a second.

    All those high dreams are left buried beneath the immense pressure of the odds that life present. But your story is an example, a great one, to tell people that hey, you can still follow your dreams. It doesn’t have to be exactly the way that you thought it’s gonna be.

    Sometimes it can be a on a whole new different plain, but can still give you the same or even more immense of a joy or sense of satisfaction.

    Your post isn’t just an awesome example for parents, but for teens like me too.

    Can’t thank you enough. May you get all you wish for in your life…

    1. Thank you very much for your kind comments!

      I think it’s pretty common for kids to imagine a heroic life for themselves when they grow up. I still do have those moments, but I have realised that the greatest thing that I can do is be there for my kids and help them develop into good men. People talk sometimes about their dreams dying, but I don’t think they necessarily have to. They will frequently change, however, as the circumstances of our lives evolve.

      Life does go by pretty fast, and it seems to accelerate every year. I remember very clearly being 19. What a time that was! It doesn’t seem so long ago, but in actuality, my elder son is only 5 years away from 19 himself… It’s pretty crazy.

      Thank you for coming by and commenting!

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