What I Didn’t Learn from Superman

Originally, I had planned on watching Man of Steel this past weekend and writing a movie review for today’s post. Due to scheduling conflicts and some negative film reviews, those plans changed. Now I’m going to write some random thoughts about fatherhood instead. Anyway, the past is in the past and I can’t fly around the world at 100x light speed to turn back time, so here goes.

Who Am I?
With the exceptions of Spider-Man and Dick Tracy in the daily newspaper, I never kept up with the world of comics. I have still enjoyed the stories of Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man. This new Superman movie seems to paint the superhero with an atypical portion of moral ambiguity and inner turmoil. Whatever the case, this version of Clark has serious issues with identity crisis. A scene in Man of Steel (revealed in the trailers) shows a young Clark asking his earthly father, “Can’t I just keep pretending I’m your son?” His father’s emotional reply is, “You are my son.” Which leads to my next thought.

Learn to Be a Son
John Piper was recently interviewed for our city’s newspaper. In the article, he gives two pieces of advice to fathers. Both are good, but I found the first to be especially profound—albeit, in a simple manner: “Dads, start with being a son, and I mean a son of God, and if you’re not a son of God get that right through faith in Jesus. Start by being reconciled to your Father.”

It’s weird, but it almost felt as if Dr. Piper was speaking directly to me when giving this answer. The gravity of being a father hit me square in the chest. In fact, I believe the Holy Spirit was impressing upon my heart the truth of those words. Why? Because of my last thought for this post.

New Seasons, Additional Roles
I myself have become a father. Our child hasn’t been born yet (we still have several months before that happens), but we know it is a girl and we have her name picked out. I may not be changing diapers and waking up a half dozen times each night, but I have still entered a new season of life.

In order to be a good father, I need to remember that I am a son. By divine mercy, I have been born again (to use Christ’s words) and brought into the family of God. To be a truly successful father, to be an authority figure who serves others and doesn’t abuse his position, I need to see myself for who I am—or, more accurately, I need to see myself for whose I am. I am under authority, and God’s prerogatives must inform all my fatherly plans.

Or, to put it more positively, I can hope to be a good father because I am the recipient of the greatest charity from the greatest Father of all. His love has enabled me to love truly and strongly and deeply—not the simple, self-serving love that I am naturally inclined towards, but the deep and others-focused love with which God Himself has loved me.