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We are their superheroes

November 10, 2008

by Jenni Sebora

Kids sure know how to make you feel you are the queen or king of the world, that you are a superhero, at least to them.

The other day my 4-year old daughter, Delaney, was making a peanut butter sandwich, and she beckoned for my help. Spreading sticky peanut butter on a piece of bread is a big task for little hands.

I began helping her spread the peanut butter, and she declared as in awe, “Mom, you sure are good at that,” Miss Delaney said (as I call her).

Of course, I answered, “Well, thank you, my dear.”

Kids think their parents are superheroes, strapped with power to conquer any task set before them – even spreading peanut butter on bread. We are superheroes to them. Even with all of our flaws, we, as their parents, are the most important people to them in the world.

My 8-year old daughter declared to me the other night as she often does, “Mom, you are my favorite person in the world,” – her exact words.

Wow. Those are words that melt your heart. Those precious words reminded me that my children love me unconditionally as well, even when I don’t deserve it. Just as children make mistakes, and we love them unconditionally.

That is powerful love.

A parent-child relationship is such a strong connection. We often hear about children who are abused by their parents, but they would not talk about it with anyone because they do not want to get their parents in trouble.

Being a parent is a huge responsibility. It is the hardest job on earth, because children are not things to be manipulated or controlled. They are their own beings with thoughts and feelings that change and grow over time.

And it is our job as parents to be their teachers and their guides through their journey of growth and development. This is an awesome task; and as with any “job,” we have to be willing to keep learning and growing ourselves to be the best parents we can be.

The parent-child relationship is a partnership. In a partnership, there must be reciprocation. There must be a sharing of talking and listening. How we treat our children teaches them how to treat others.

We know that our actions, our role modeling, speaks louder to our children than our words.

The writing, “When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking,” by Mary Rita Schilke Korzan, conveys this message so clearly.

“When you thought I wasn’t looking you hung my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another.

“When you thought I wasn’t looking you fed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.

“When you thought I wasn’t looking you baked a birthday cake just for me, and I knew that little things were special things.

“When you thought I wasn’t looking you said a prayer, and I believed there was a God that I could always talk to.

“When you thought I wasn’t looking you kissed me good night, and I felt loved.

“When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt – but that it’s all right to cry.

“When you thought I wasn’t looking you cared, and I wanted to be everything I could be.

“When you thought I wasn’t looking – I looked . . . and wanted to say thanks for all those things you did when you thought I wasn’t looking.”

“All the wisdom in the world cannot, by itself, replace intimate human ties, family ties, as the center of human development.”

– Selma H. Fraiberg, author “Magic Years”

We may not have superhuman strength or run as fast as lightning or leap tall buildings in a single bound, but that doesn’t matter to our children.

We are their true superheroes to teach them about the world.