Real Heroes Don’t Wear Capes

Written by Janet Denison
Published on November 10, 2015

There is a new superhero on television. Supergirl has been a surprise hit this fall, especially with the boys. Most super heroes are masculine and appeal to a mostly male audience. The writers for Supergirl wanted their superhero to be popular with everyone. The scripts for Supergirl are a little lighter and less fantasy driven. The show has made news because it attracts people of all ages, both men and women.

I’ve not seen the show so I can’t make a recommendation one way or the other. In fact, I would love to know your comments on the program if your family has watched it. Every generation of boys and girls needs to have a few superheroes to enjoy. More importantly, every generation needs real heroes to look up to as well.

Children have wonderful imaginations, and make-believe heroes on television or in books can teach them important values. Most of these fantasy heroes stand against the forces of evil, but a discerning eye will realize that they often make some questionable choices to accomplish that goal. The crowd cheered when Superman picked up a car to toss at a bad guy, but the person who owned the car wasn’t real excited!

Kids love to dress up in costumes and pretend they can conquer the world. When a person is 3 ½ feet tall, that is a nice feeling. My boys roared through the house with pillowcase capes and plastic weapons of all kinds. The dining room table, covered in blankets, became a fortress of safety against everyone but Mom and the picnic lunch. God created us with wonderful imaginations and, for most of us, childhood was the most important time to develop that part of our thinking.

Today’s culture needs some extra thought. Television and movies appear much more realistic now. The good guys don’t necessarily win. The people in the White House and other positions of leadership are not often thought of as “heroes.” Even the super heroes are made to look a little more human. Our children need to learn the real definition of a hero, and he or she is probably not going to wear a cape.

According to the dictionary, a hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. When children mature they begin to look for these qualities in real people, with the hope that they might have those qualities as well. Children are wise and created with an ability to discern good and evil. The most important “heroes” in their lives will become the real people they view as courageous, outstanding and noble. But will their heroes be godly as well?

Hopefully, our children will recognize heroic qualities in their moms and dads. If they do, moms and dads will probably view those qualities in their children someday as well. Heroes aren’t born—they are created. The trick to raising heroes is teaching them how to find the source of their superhero strength. Here are a few verses I would suggest:

  • Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Paul is a hero in the Bible and he said that God was the source of his strength.
  • Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Even heroes are afraid sometimes, but God has promised to help us.
  • Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.” Power and strength are characteristics of people who walk with God.

Look again at the definition for a hero: “a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.” Let’s teach our children to be heroes. Lesson One: real heroes don’t wear capes, but they do attend church and pray a LOT!

Will you teach your children to be super heroes? They will be grateful to you for giving them strength.


Photo from Flickr.

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Janet Denison

Janet Denison teaches others to live an authentic faith through her writing, speaking, and teaching ministry. She blogs weekly at and often at

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