Well, it finally happened. I overheard Noah adamantly declare to one of his friends, “my dad is way strongest than your dad!”
And I laughed. I always thought that was a cliche. I knew kids felt it, but I didn’t understand how much they really believed it. I didn’t know they sometimes even become aggravated to the point of fighting and brawling over it.
Before Noah’s declaration (and I don’t know what started it) the two had been playing quite peaceably in our living room. I tuned in when Noah said those words every dad should get to hear, “my dad is way strongest than your dad!”
His little friend clenched his fists, looked up at Noah with tear-filling eyes and said, “nuh-uh. My dad is strongest!”
I laughed again as Noah turned his gaze toward me.
“Dad, you’re stronger, huh!” Noah was confident. After all, I was there to back him up on it.
His friend was getting more upset.
“Well, Colson’s dad is pretty strong. Maybe we’re both the strongest,” I said, looking to avoid hurting either kid’s feelings.
That just pissed them both off.
“No, Dad! You’re the strongest than anybody. I told everybody that even my teacher. Colson’s dad is not the strongest!”
“Yes he is! My dad can even lift a whole car above his head!”
“Well my dad can lift a whole house.”
“Well my dad can lift a whole church.”
“Well my dad can lift a whole mountain.”
Talk about pressure.
I was too amused to say anything. I wanted to see what conclusions they might come to on their own.
From that point, I found myself wedged between the two boys, doing my best to block their swinging arms before they could wallop the living crap out of one another.
“Colson, your dad is the strongest. Noah, your dad is the strongest. How do you think that works?” I was aiming to confuse them.
They soon forgot about it and got back to being best buds.
Man, I talk so much about labeling your kids with proper labels, but I never understood the power that kids have in labeling their parents until this happened.
Noah had declared it.
I was the strongest. I was even strongest than Colson’s dad. At least to Noah.
And over the next couple months I felt a need to live up to that label. I loved showing off to Noah how much I could carry, how heavy of boxes I could lift, and how easily I could hoist him with one arm above my head. Every time I achieved some feat of strength, I asked Noah, “who’s the strongest?” And he’d always say, “you are, Dad!”
I’d let him do pull-ups on my arm, I’d toss him high in the air, and I’d tackle and destroy imaginary monsters or horrible animals.
“Who’s the strongest?”
“You are, Dad!”
And then, three days ago, I was sitting at the top of the stairs, helping him get the double-knot out of his shoes. He had been trying unsuccessfully for the past several minutes. When I pulled it loose he squealed with excitement. “That’s awesome, Dad!” (he really does get excited over little things like that.)
“Who’s the strongest?”
Chappy is Noah’s step-dad.
“Chappy?! No way! I’m way stronger than Chappy!”
He started laughing hysterically. “No way, Dad. Chappy’s way the strongest.”
I guess it couldn’t last forever, could it.
And in all fairness, Chappy could probably crush me between two fingers.
Dan Pearce, Danoah Unleashed
Would love your comments. Have your kids ever got into a “who’s strongest” battle? Does it make you feel all sorts of special when your kids think you’re stronger than other people?
If you’d like to read more of my posts, and by more I mean daily, visit my main blog at www.danoah.com!