Everybody loves a good superhero story.
You know, Superman swoops in and grabs the girl in the nick of time. Or maybe Batman gets the bad guy right before he puts the mayor in a vat of boiling wax: “Holy hot mess, Batman!”
There’s no doubt we live in a superhero-fueled world. What would the summer be without the next Spiderman adventure?
Our adult perspective lacks the wide-eyed wow that emanates from youngsters who daydream of having superpowers of their own. We go to work every day, pay bills, fix the dryer for the umpteenth time, and find the money to pay for ballet lessons and ball team fees.
At the same time, many parents are also playing Thor in the lives of their kids–whether they are aware of it or not.
We swoop in and shield our children from the disappointment of a lost ballgame. We appear from nowhere to be sure their teachers don’t hold them accountable for their low grades. We block hurt feelings that come from kids who don’t want to be best friends.
And as we wear the cape of Super-Parent, we are failing to consider the ways we are depriving our kids from a vibrant and growing relationship with Jesus.
Because our God works in amazing ways in the middle of painful life experiences:
Through loss we learn God is all we need.
Through failure we learn He is a God of grace and mercy and many chances.
Through betrayal we learn God is faithful.
When life isn’t fair we have the grand opportunity to teach our kids that God isn’t fair either. And aren’t we glad?
When we face disappointments, we learn to trust God to work it out in His own timing and His own way.
So, Dad and Mom, here are a few tips for teaching your children to depend on God through life’s tough stuff:
- Don’t be afraid to tell your children you don’t understand a current situation but you are trusting God to keep His promises to work good in all things for those who love Him.
- Help your older children search the Bible for passages that help them understand God’s sovereignty in all things. For example, if your child is experiencing mistreatment, search the story of Joseph and discover together the specific ways that God turned what was meant for harm into blessing.
- Memorize scripture together that speak to issues at hand. Has there been a death in the family? Psalm 34:18. The upset of unemployment? Jeremiah 29:12. A friend moving away? 1 Peter 5:7
Life on earth isn’t always smooth sailing. Truth is, life is hard. We can equip our children for the rough seas of adulthood by teaching them as they go while they are young. You have permission to cry in front of your children and allow them to see how God works in you when life gets difficult.
Ironman’s battery can fail him. The Incredible Hulk has no control over himself. Captain America needs his shield, and Superman can’t handle kryptonite.
Superheroes are fun in comic books and cartoons. The only real-life hero in existence is Jesus, the only Son of God.
“I am the Alpha and Omega,” says the Lord God,
“who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty”
· Revelation 1:8 ·
Shelley Pierce is a pastor’s wife, mom, grandma and the Director of Preschool and Children’s Ministries at Towering Oaks Baptist Church in Greeneville, Tennessee. The best part of living in the beautiful mountains of eastern Tennessee is getting to spend time with her husband, Tommy, and their amazing children and grandchildren.
Shelley worked for ten years as a contracted writer for LifeWay Childhood Ministries and is published in numerous devotion magazines and books. She is the author of The Wish I Wished Last Night, exciting new middle-grade fiction from Elk Lake Publishing. She also writes a monthly column in The Christian Online Magazine as well as a personal blog, shelleypaperbackwriter.blogspot.com.
cover photo is an original photo of an illustration on page 128 of Super Heroes: My First Dictionary by Michael Robin, published by downtown bookworks in 2014.