Superdad? Or The Greatest American Hero?

Is that song running through your mind now? I hope so. It is one of the catchiest sitcom theme tunes of all time. Whether you watched the show or not, you knew that song.

So, what’s the relevance?

The other day, I received some compliments from a blogger, who referred to me as “superdad.” Well, I knew immediately that title didn’t fit. Just ask my teenage son, and he will give you a list a mile long of my un-superness (yes, I know that’s not a real word) qualities. Now, ask my dog, and he might agree with the blogger; although, he seems indiscriminate as to whom he finds to be super. Anyone who walks out of the room and back in a few minutes later is greeted like the person traveled to Paris, France and back, by mule, with pockets full of steak. But let’s not get distracted.

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As I reflected on the flattering “superdad” comment, Ralph Hinkley immediately popped into my head, along with the mind-monopolizing theme tune, “Believe It or Not.”

For those too young for the privilege of watching first runs of the show–The Greatest American Hero was a sitcom in the early ’80s about a klutzy high school teacher named Ralph Hinkley, who was given a superhero suit by aliens. Ralph quickly lost the instruction manual and was forced to harness the powers of the suit on his own, often with comedic results. Crash landings, fires, wall collisions, and clumsy flying were the norm. At the aliens’ instruction, Ralph teamed up with an FBI agent and began fighting crime in less than super fashion.

And yet, despite all of Ralph’s faults, fumbling along with the superhero powers he didn’t yet know how to use, and causing some damage along the way, Ralph always ended up accomplishing some good in the end.

Now, if I am a “superdad,” then I am “super” in the line of Ralph Hinkley–the klutzy, ill-prepared, wobbly flying, and reluctant superhero, who must learn to use his powers by trial and error.

That description suits (ahem) me well.

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Many days I feel like a klutzy dad who has been given incredible superhero potential along with a detailed instruction manual from God, and yet, somehow, I am not quite able to harness the powers of the suit. I have all the tools at my disposal, yet they feel awkward in my hands or I haven’t discovered them yet. I fly wobbly and crash into walls.

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But despite me, God accomplishes good in the end.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12.

God is the Potter, and we are clay in His hands.

Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.

Jeremiah 18:6.

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I am reminded that God doesn’t use perfect vessels. To the contrary, He uses marred and imperfect vessels, and He shapes them into “vessels of mercy,  which he has prepared beforehand for glory.” Romans 9:23. Even King David was marred and imperfect, and yet God described David as a man after God’s own heart:

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.”

Acts 13:22.

As you may recall, David spied on Bathsheba, a married woman, while she bathed, committed adultery with her, and then conspired for the murder of her husband so that he could then marry her. 2 Samuel 11. This is just one event in David’s imperfect life, and yet God still described him as a man after God’s own heart. And, of course, God chose David’s line into which Jesus would be born.

My point here is that we all fly wobbly. We are all marred and imperfect. God doesn’t use perfect vessels, because there are no perfect vessels (other than Jesus). God instructs us to plant and water, and He promises that He will make things grow.

So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.

1 Corinthians 3:7-9.

So, I pull on my Greatest American Hero supersuit, my armor of God if you will (Ephesians 6:11), and fumble into parenting and marriage like the klutzy superhero of the ’80s, with confidence that God will make things grow, despite my wobbly flight pattern, crashing into walls, and embarrassing landings.

My jobs are to teach my children about Jesus and His Word (plant) and build for them a proper foundation, which is Christ (water). Planting and watering require that I follow Jesus and obey His commands, and teach my children to do the same. I am wholly incapable of making my children holy or righteous. That alone belongs to God, who makes things grow by His Holy Spirit. My job is to show my children the path of righteousness, but God alone is the One who will open their eyes to it and guide them along it (make things grow).

And I have peace that I cannot parent perfectly. I am an imperfect vessel. I am Ralph Hinkley. But God has my household in His hands. He is standing at the potter’s wheel, expertly removing our blemishes. In this, parents stand on the promises of God:

Standing on the promises of Christ my King,
Through eternal ages let His praises ring,
Glory in the highest, I will shout and sing,
Standing on the promises of God.

Refrain:
Standing, standing,
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
Standing, standing,
I’m standing on the promises of God.

–Standing on the Promises, Russell K. Carter, pub. 1886.

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Post linked to Literacy Musing Mondays at the request of the link hop Host, Leslie. Thank you Leslie!
Linked up with Grace & Truth.
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39 thoughts on “Superdad? Or The Greatest American Hero?

  1. I loved this. You are right. I am far from perfect. Many things in my life have been abject failures but I stood as faithful to God as I knew how and taught my kids to do the same. They are all grown now. There have been many bumps and bruises along the way. They have had their moments of doubt and walking away but God has given the increase and today I can thankfully say they are all serving the Lord.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Amen! That is all we can do. Sometimes I beat myself up over ways I parent or fail to live up to Christ’s example. I just have to keep reminding myself that I’m not the one in control. And thank goodness, or I’d wreck the ship. All I can do is, like you said, follow Christ as faithfully as I can.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Joseph’s reply as well. Loved this post! I believe for me when I became a parent, I accepted my true imperfection. The only manual is God’s Word and each child is different to boot. I was a single parent much of the time so I truly flew by the seat of my pants. I understand this to the core of being. I remember the sitcom though, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love the blog! I was a huge fan of that show, and yes, I was signing the theme song while reading. The analogy is a great one. We are given special talents and have the offer of salvation by God, if we will only take it, wobbly as we might be. The character in this sitcom stepped out in faith, as we must in our daily lives. Thanks for the story! I have a feeling you would appreciate my blog. I just started 2 weeks ago and would appreciate your feedback as I imagine we have a lot in common. If you have time, read one or two and let me know what you think, as I’m just getting started.
    Cheers,
    MichaelJ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will definitely take a look tomorrow and provide feedback (not that I’m qualified to do so 😬). Always excited to find new and interesting blogs. Thanks for reading and commenting. I followed your blog so I can keep coming back to it.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and for your generous comments. Teens have a knack for making parents feel inadequate, it seems. How they go from best friends to grumpy trolls I have no idea. I know I was better (insert rolling eyes emoji here 🙄).

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really liked this. Well done. Your lightheartedness in not taking yourself too seriously and in reminding us Who remains at our side offered renewed hope. Too often I assume I must be the one soul not worth His grace :). I appreciate that – thanks! Looking forward to more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the parallel you drew between the armor of God and our superhero gear. I’d never heard it put quite that way! Certainly, God can equip us to do those super things when we are fully relying on Him and acting in His strength and not our own. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. Our blogging community would be blessed if you shared this devotion at the Literacy Musing Mondays Linkup. #LMMLinkup http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=1018. We hope to see you often.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a good post! Yes, we are all marred vessels, but God chooses us and works through us accomplishing His purposes and that is a beautiful thing. He just wants us to be faithful, but even when we fail, He forgives. What a great God we have! I’m visiting from #LMMLinkup!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post. 🙂 And the scary thing is? That song STILL goes through my head from time to time. I remember the show, but I hadn’t thought about it in years.

    I’m so thankful God doesn’t require perfection as a parent. And that He can fill in some of those gaps in my mothering. I’m thankful He redeems the mistakes I make with our boys. And that He loves them even more than my husband and I do. So, I guess I’ll continue flying as straight as I can and trust that God is working in me, our marriage and in our boys’ hearts. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder that there is grace for marred vessels.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. HI there! Just popping over from Titus 2 Tuesday! Great post and it is so wonderful to hear a Dad’s point of view. I know most of us moms feel inadequate, but we tend to forget about you wonderful Dad’s who have feelings too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Yep, dads feel inadequate too. And many of us don’t have the natural child rearing instinct. I have noticed that there are far fewer dads blogging about family.

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  9. I enjoyed your post and I think that one has to be a little bit of a superhero to raise kid’s in today’s world (or maybe it’s always been that way)! I give you credit! And yes, I do remember that show…in its first run! We are all imperfect vessels but with luck can still be filled with that “Living Water!”

    Liked by 1 person

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