“Mom! Look! It’s your book! Can I read it?”
The CreateSpace proof of Flash had come that afternoon, all pretty and shiny and crisp. David, my 6-year-old, grabbed it and flipped through the pages. “Oooh!” he said. “Can I read it!?” I honestly don’t know who was more excited.
Now, my young adult My Life as a Superhero series is not necessarily the best reading material for my 6-year-old. As with any superhero story—from Captain America to Captain Underpants—there is conflict in the story. Being a series for young adults, the conflict is a bit more adult in nature. However, it is nice that someone other than me is as excited as I am.
I love that my boy loves to read—just like his mommy and daddy did at his age. In preschool, he was reading at a second grade level. Now, in his last quarter of kindergarten, he is reading—and, more importantly, comprehending—3rd-grade level chapter books by himself. He is also, like Mom, writing his own book. He has nearly 500 words (and over 20 chapters) now.
It’s easy to forget sometimes that our kids really do want to be just like us, just as it’s also sometimes hard to remember that they are blessings straight from Heaven. Even when they don’t act or say it—and even when they’re teens and oh-so-independent—kids desire to emulate the qualities they respect in their parents.
Before his death, Moses gave a very long speech. Fortunately, the Israelites saved his sermon text so we have it today. Moses told the people, “Teach [God’s laws] to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19, NIV). Moses is giving us parents some very sobering advice: We need to model the behavior we want to see in our adult children. The Israelites hearing Moses speak wanted their children to love God (because the alternative came with some pretty bad consequences). But children are not born loving God. This behavior—as with nearly all behaviors—needs to be taught and modeled.
Do you want your daughter to love reading when she is an adult? She needs to see you reading. Do you want your son to be kind to people he doesn’t know? You need to be kind to people you don’t know. Do you want him to love and honor his future spouse? You need to (as much as it is up to you) love your spouse and work through your differences in an adult manner. Do you want her to love Jesus? You need to not only tell her, but also show her what that means.
David currently wants to be president, a doctor, an astronaut on the first mission to Mars, and (and, not or) a gold-medal Olympian in every sport except gymnastics (“Because boy gymnastics is too hard”). “Writer,” “Stay-at-home Parent,” or “Tech Support Representative” are not currently on his list of desired careers, but that is fine with me and my husband. He wants to be like us in the areas that matter—he is a reader, a learner, a servant, and he loves Jesus.
Rikki Strong has always been enamored with superheroes, and started writing the My Life as a Superhero series (currently Karis and Flash) when she was a sophomore in high school. She began writing for fun and profit in 2006 and has since written or ghostwritten more than 10 books and over 50 web articles. When not writing—which is most of the time—she is a stay-at-home wife and mom to a very active 6-year-old boy who has already about 500 words and 25 chapters into writing his own book.