Someone once told me that one of the greatest things about having kids is that you're their hero. In fact, I think a couple of people shared that observation with me. I don't know where I first heard it but I've really noticed it lately with my two-year old. I'm his hero.
When I come home at the end of the workday and he greets me like I'm a rock star, well, it rocks. The boss might have leaned hard on me, the wife might be upset with me because I still haven't called the handyman and the neighbors might be irritated because its been too long since I mowed the lawn. But no matter what I do (or don't do) I'm superman in the eyes of my two year old.
Of course, things change and as kids get older so does their notion of a hero. I imagine I was my eight year old's hero for a while too. But now he's discovered major league baseball and while I think he still counts me as a pretty cool dad, Prince Fielder has replaced me at the top of the hero list.
The truth is, I can relate. My own hero evolution went something like dad to sports stars to rock stars to powerful historical figures to where I find my heroes today. I'm not sure exactly how to qualify who those people are but in general they can be defined by their imagination, creativity or passion or they are just really good people. To quote Abraham Joshua Heschel: "When I was young I admired clever people. Now that I'm old I admire nice people."
Whoever my kids identify as heroes at whatever stage in life, I would encourage the idea of having heroes at all. People to emulate, learn from and inspire us. In fact, I would hope that they have many heroes along the way.
One person who I never thought of as a hero but I'm starting to rethink is Steve Jobs. Last week when I heard the comparisons to Thomas Edison I thought it was a bit much. Now, the more I think about it he may very well have been the Edison of our times.
Maybe its not correct to say he's a hero, as much as someone to admire. Ingenuity, perseverence, creativity, confidence, every experience is a life lesson. He created the iPad, iPod, the modern personal computer, the modern animated film and the entire music industry. Much to be said. But I think it was his commencement address to Stanford students in 2005 that really got me thinking. There are a lot of commencement addresses out there. I guess his has some added meaning these days. Check it out for yourself: http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html
I think its one I'll save for my kids.
(photo credit: http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o87/SpaceNut_01/Meeting-Superman-2840-bst.jpg)