My son Devyn sent me a photo yesterday of himself in a Superman costume. He asked me what I thought:
I told him his underwear was nice, and so was his costume- how could I resist!
As I looked at the picture of Devyn, I thought of how many boys and men desire to be a superhero in this modern day and age.
We also put quite a bit of pressure on them to look like Superman: tall, dark, handsome and muscular. You know, real men, strong on the outside. Girls are not the only ones affected by media and their own body image. Men are just as influenced by current trends, TV shows, Hollywood movie stars and muscle-building magazines.
One of my friends was looking for her six-year-old son one day and couldn’t find him anywhere. Then she checked their second story balcony, and sure enough, there he was, standing on the edge of the roof looking down. He had a cape tied around his neck. When she asked him what he was doing, he said he was going to fly. It took a bit for her to explain the forces of gravity and convince him, it was a terrible idea to jump off their roof.
Most young men have a strong desire to be someone’s superhero. But their motives aren’t always for the right reasons. They want people to look up to them and admire and respect them.
With a significant amount of our population being raised by single moms, many boys and young men have no male role-models in their lives today. If they don’t have male teachers at school, they may actually never see a good man in action… a superhero.
With our modern day feminist ideas of:
Don’t hold the door for me.
Don’t carry my groceries
I can do EVERYTHING myself.
We have stripped men of opportunities to be kind. Men know women can open a door or carry a bag of groceries… easily.
But sometimes they want to show you they think you have value: not that you are weak and helpless
News Flash: Some boys and men want to put you ahead of themselves.
How did we push the male population to the point of being afraid we will yell or verbally retaliate if they picked up a bag of potatoes that fell off our grocery cart?
When I was getting a tire patched up at a local shop, I went back to pick it up. The man behind the desk called someone over the loudspeaker to bring the tire out to me. A man came out and set it down. I am not a very big woman, but I am strong due to all the weight lifting I have done over the years… I could have carried the tire, easily.
A tiny man who worked there, saw me pick up the tire and he said to me, “I will get that for you” I was going to tell him no because I knew I was bigger and stronger than he was. Then I realized I was robbing him of the opportunity to put someone ahead of himself. He lifted my tire and followed me to my van. I thanked him for his kindness, and he left; walking just a bit taller.
Maybe you’ve heard of the saying, small-man-syndrome. It’s usually given to men who are small but try to act as though they are mighty, so people don’t see their short stature. They have a complex about being looked down on and are trying to puff themselves up.
I have met some huge men who have a small-man syndrome. They feel insignificant and try to put those around them beneath their big toe. They beat their wives and kids and rule their homes with iron fists.
I have also seen women who have small-women-syndrome. I used to be one of them. You know, one of those ladies who always makes snide remarks and rude comments about her husband or boyfriend so she can look like she’s above him and he’s beneath her. Ya, that was me.
Believe it or not, I developed this syndrome because my husband didn’t treat me well, I began to despise him, and I would retaliate with rude, degrading comments. He didn’t physically harm me. He just neglected me and expected me to be his servant. He felt significant if I was serving him:
King of the castle.
One day we were sitting in his office, and we were talking about what would happen if one of us died.
“I would take a bullet for you,” Vance said sincerely.
“So, you’d get up in the night with Kyle then?”
“I don’t need a hero Vance, I need a friend.”
Many men will gladly take bullets for women… die a hero.
But are they willing to be a real superhero to their wife, girlfriend or kids?
How about you?
Maybe you’re holding doors open for your pretty coworkers, but running home and expecting your wife to serve you at night while you put your feet up on the coffee table. Because you do the REAL work, right?
What can we do to change this trend?
If a young man has a single mother, he may never believe his mother should be pampered. But instead always see her as the servant. Is this what we want our male population to think? Imagine if everytime a boy went out with his mother, men fought each other to hold the door open for her, or carry her groceries, or brush the snow off her car. Do you think he would begin to see his servant-mother as someone with value: instead of his maid and cook?
If you are a single mom and you want your boys to grow up to be superheroes, encourage them to serve you and their sisters. Sit down once in a while and let them do the dishes, wipe the table down or shovel the driveway. Point to the door and ask them to open it for you, not because you’re weak… but because you’re worthy.
Men need to see women as beautiful creatures, they are fortunate enough to treat with tender-loving-care, whether a woman is stronger than them or not.
Women can be stronger, and men can still feel like a big man.
Our daughters are powerlifters and can out lift many men their size and weight. There was a young man who went to the same gym we did. He was smaller than our girls and would comment to them how amazing they were… and he meant it. He didn’t need the girls to be weaker than him, to feel like a man.
He was smaller in stature but large in heart. He was a BIG man!
You’re probably wondering if my husband is still the jerk he used to be? Everything about him changed. He went from villain to Superman. He began to take over many of the tasks and roles I had, in caring for a twenty-five-year-old son, with severe autism. He also serves me in many of the small ways each day.
Kyle has a lot of needs and Vance used to expect me to juggle them all, and to meet his needs too. I was burnt at the end of every day, and I felt insignificant and unloved.
My man went from having small-man syndrome to being my BIG man instead. It wasn’t an overnight transformation, and you can read all about it if you are hoping your man will have a change of heart too.
Link to my book:
Vance isn’t the only man in my life. Devyn and Eythan are my two other adult sons, and I am delighted they had a chance to see their superhero-dad in action before they left home. I also have an excellent bonus son, Dan.
Superheroes in my life.
Devyn and Aryanna, share an apartment. Recently Devyn has been attempting to learn to cook because his sister is doing online schooling in the evenings, after a full and tiresome workday. He is trying to be a servant to his sister so her life can be a bit easier and recently started to have a change of heart. I am proud of him! Devyn also chips in and helps us with our son Kyle whenever he is here visiting. Devyn is deserving of the costume he is going to wear this year for Halloween to the daycare, where he is Superman every day to kids, many who are without fathers.
My son-in-law, Dan, is an incredible husband to my daughter Charity. They are both hardworking. She couldn’t have found a better one if she searched the world over a thousand times. He treats her like a princess and does whatever he can to ease her load whether it’s housework or errand running, and this bonus-mom has a special place in her heart for her fourth son.
I recently watched my newly married son, Eythan, take care of his wife Jazmin, who has stage four cancer. When he was gone one day to run an errand, Jazmin and I were in the kitchen, and she said to me, “Eythan is such a good husband, he is always trying to meet my needs and take care of me.” My mother-heart was bursting with pride, my son was putting his wife’s needs ahead of his own.
There is no more excellent gift my sons can give their mother: than to take care of the women in their lives.
We have a tremendous responsibility as women to serve the men in our lives with love and respect. This includes allowing them to help us and also encouraging our men, sons, and daughters to be real superheroes, as they learn to put others ahead of themselves.
Men, you don’t have to take a bullet to be heroic: just love your wives, lay down your daily life for her. Hopefully, one day your daughter will pick a man like you to spend the rest of her life with 💗
Words of Jesus, the greatest superhero I know:
“This is My commandment, that you love and unselfishly seek the best for one another, just as I have loved you. No one has greater love[nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends.” John 15: 12-13 AMP
A.J. Sefton says
Absolutely spot on. Being seen as ‘worthy’ is a great sentiment, better than being seen as beautiful in my view. I think with the rise of women’s rights we have become a little lost in the fog and confused manners with patronising chauvinism. Sometimes that’s what it is, but not always. The secret is in how we bring up our children to consider and value others, as you say.
Beautifully said A.J. I was almost afraid to write on this topic since it is a sensitive one. It is fantastic to hear if people disagree or agree with these thoughts. Thanks for leaving a comment!