This adorable father/son superhero team’s photo went viral last year, gathering almost 1.7 million comments in just two days, according to the Huffington Post. One commenter pinpointed why the image struck such a chord: “A good dad is always a hero to their kids. Capes just let the world see it a little better.”
Daughters need heroes, too. In her book, Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, Dr. Meg Meeker dedicates an entire chapter to dads’ heroism saying, “I have news for you. Your daughter wants a hero—and she has chosen you.”
In fact, when asked by Canada's National Post newspaper to share six words that described their dad, several respondents echoed the heroism sentiment:
"Gone two years, still my hero."
— RakelaK_67, via Twitter
"[M]y favorite hero."
— pahteeee, via Twitter
"My dad to me is a Superhero, immortal, loving, forgiving, patient, supportive!!!"
— mmmhur, via Twitter
Research bears out the importance of fathers in the lives of their children. As they grow older, children with involved fathers are more likely to:
(Flouri, 2005, Boyce et al., 2006, Pruett, 2000; Lamb, 2010)
A lot of things, but here are a few we thought of:
H – Hugs. Hero dads are willing to hug their kids. A lot. They hug their sons and their daughters. They hug them when they’re babies and when they’re grown, when they’re hurt and when they want to remind them they’re loved, when they score the winning run in the state baseball championship game and when they run the bases backward their first game in t-ball.
E – Engagement. Hero dads are willing to engage with their kids in play that facilitates bonding and brain development. Dads' "rough-housing" play style allows kids to take risks, and promotes independence and exploration (Parke & Tinsley, 1987; Rosenberg & Wilcox, 2006).
R – Rules. Hero dads are willing to show they love their kids enough to set rules. In her book, Dr. Meeker shares the value of rules, reminding readers that daughters challenge rules to see how much their dads really love them, and determines that “daughters . . . appreciate fathers who are heroes, fathers who don’t relax until the battle leaves home (and really not even then).”
O – Odd. Yep, odd. Hero dads are willing to look odd, or be odd, in public and not worry about what others think. Like wearing a superman cape while shopping at the hardware store with your son.
To all the hero dads out there, “Happy Father’s Day!”