When I was younger my babysitter would always have a stack of comics waiting for me when I was dropped off by my parents in the mornings. Those comics were my escape. I would sit there and get lost with super heroes that would later become my favorite friends. Since I was the youngest in my family, I was always too small to hang out with my sisters and cousins, so I just read my comics and joined my "friends" on new adventures.
As I got older, comics were still a big part of my life. I loved how they taught me so many things about life: be responsible, be yourself, and most importantly, help others. I have always tried to live with those values in my life and to this day I feel I am holding up to those values. Yeah, I might have had my downfalls every now and then, but what superhero has not gone through their own troubling times.
As a dad, no scratch that, as a parent, I have to instill these values in my children and show them that no matter what happens in our life, good or bad, we will get through them and become a better person because of our experience. Everything that I do with my children I consider a life lesson, maybe that's the teacher in me, but I feel that we can always be learning something in our everyday activities.
Recently our friends at Hasbro sent us a trio of goodies to play with and my children were excited to rip open the packaging and start playing with them. As when anything comes to our house to review, we have some rules set up: homework must be done first (at least for my daughter), no playing with the toys during dinner, and you must share whatever comes in.
Of course rule three is always the tough one. My little guy tries to take everything for himself and never wants to share with my daughter. So there is a lot of screaming going on and a lot of refereeing by myself or my wife. This time it was a little different. My son was immediately drawn to the Jurassic World Tyrannosaurus Rex while the Super Hero Adventures Iron Man Armor Up Fortress caught the eye of my daughter. Left sitting alone in the box was the Transformers Rescue Bots High Tide Playset, which looked like it was calling for me to play with it.
After watching my children playing with the toys for a few hours it struck me odd at the toys that they chose and how it correlates to them. I know it sounds odd to compare your kids to toys, but just like comic books were my escape, I see these toys as an escape for them and an extension of who they are.
Right now my son IS the Tyrannosaurus Rex. He runs around the house like he owns the place. My son is all instinct. He climbs on the couches, jumps off the couches and screams and yells when he is hungry. He has bitten a few of us before and that's usually when he is hungry or tired.
He is fearless and that is a great thing. As he gets older some of those attributes might become "extinct" but I hope that they do not. I hope that he continues to go by instinct and be fearless in his life. I want him to not be a timid person, I want him to "ROAR" and make his presence known to others.
Maybe I am asking too much of him, I mean, he's still a toddler, but I would love for him to be the ruler of his world and leave a giant footprint on it.
My daughter is Tony Stark. Now, she is not flying around in a metal suit and fighting along other Avengers, but her mind is steadily becoming sharp like Mr. Starks. Everyday when she gets home from school, she amazes me at how quick she gets her homework. She might complain about it for a minute or two, but then something in her clicks and she just knocks it out.
I see how my daughter is a leader with her brother and a nurturer. Unlike Mr. Stark who at times seems to only be thinking about his own end goal, I see my daughter making sure her little brother is doing well when they are playing together.
Maybe that is her metal suit, the ability to protect her brother and be firm with him when he does something wrong, but also be a tender loving sister to him and those around her. I can not wait to see what amazing things she does in the future and who knows, maybe she will become an Iron Woman and save us all one day.
That leaves the Rescue Bot Transformer, and I think all parents can relate to this character. Ok, I know we all do not transform into fancy cars, military vehicles or dinosaurs, but we are constantly changing to meet our child's needs. We "transform" into the protector-bot when we see our children in trouble. We "transform" into the nurture-bot when our children need a shoulder to cry on or just needs a hug.
As a dad, I know that I have changed a lot ever since my first child was born. I went from only caring about myself and my wife to trying everything I can do to ensure that my family is well taken cared of; that we have a home, food and clothes for our children and they do not have to worry about any of that. To this day I attribute my values on those comic books that I got from my babysitter and that playing with these toys helps to promote that.
I cherish the moments that I get to play with my children and know that those moments are slowly making an important impact on their lives. Only time will tell if our moments together will help them be responsible, be themselves and help others. By them living these values I feel they will become heroes in their own ways.
What are some ways you use your children's toys to promote life lessons? We would like to know.
Thanks for reading.
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(Disclaimer: The Fandads want to thank Playskool Heroes which provided us with these toys and compensated us for this post. Also, for encouraging dads and kids to be heroes together. All views and opinions are our own.)