I don’t think I’ve heard a kid do it in years. Probably not since I was a kid, standing there with all my neighborhood cronies in our tube socks and E.T. T-shirts shouting and one-upping and trying to outdo whatever the other kid said in terms of how great and wonderful our fathers were.
“My dad is stronger than your dad.”
“My dad is smarter than your dad.”
My dad is better, my dad is nicer, my dad buys me things, my dad takes me to more places, my dad is the best coach, my dad is the best cook, my dad could totally beat up your dad and beat him in a game of trivia and my dad’s car has more seats than your dad.
“My dad has the best mustache in the whole neighborhood!” (OK, that one was mine. My dad gave Tom Selleck a run for his money.)
Where have these daddy wars gone? Why don’t I walk through the park and see kids verbally putting their dads on a throne? Where are the fatherly heroes little girls talk up so much that they have the muscles of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, the brain of Einstein, and the wallet of Bill Gates? I know these dads still exist. I know plenty of them. There’s one living in my house. There are some in my neighborhood. There are plenty living in my community.
When I stop to think about it, I’m surrounded by Superdads.
There are the strong dads. The ones who help neighbors move big pieces of furniture around the house when certain wives decide to rearrange rooms. There are the smart dads, who help with math homework. There are the kind dads who volunteer hours coaching their kids in sports and then watch game after game, win or lose, and teach the value of good sportsmanship. There are the dads who let the toddlers run the bases after their own softball games. There are the ones who have mastered grilling, who donate their hard-earned money to good causes, who unload the dishwasher without asking because they know one more household task might make their wives explode. And of course, there are the ones who have spectacular facial hair.
There’s a part of me that wishes kids would bring back those daddy wars. For one, with the addition of the internet these days, I would love to hear how magical and extreme their descriptions would be. I also think there are some dads who might learn a thing or two listening to how much their kids love them, even if it means belittling every other dad along the way. Or if he is already a Superdad, I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt for him to hear how great he looks in a cape.