If You Want to Win, Stop Being the Hero
It wasn’t long ago that I could tell my kids anything and they would believe me. Their world was small and I was at the center of it. I was their hero. I could do no wrong in their eyes and whatever I said was absolute in their tiny universe.
Whenever I helped them overcome a challenge I would say, “You know why we achieved that? Because I’m Daddy and I can do anything!” I would smile and hug them tight to comfort them and let them know they were safe.
Now my kids are getting older and looking less like kids and more like young adults, especially my daughter, Ashley. She challenges me and questions my logic more than I would like. My boys ask more difficult questions and push back at my answers. I didn’t like it at first, but soon realized that they are simply getting older and their world is expanding and getting much larger.
This fact was apparent on the night I announced at the dinner table that my kids could ask me any question about sex. I will never forget the uncomfortable look Alia gave me from across the table. It was a glance that said, “There’s no turning back from this conversation, are we ready for this?”
It didn’t matter if we were ready, our kids were ready. They were already asking questions and saying things that made it clear that they were learning things at school and from their friends. That night I shifted my role from hero to guide as I shared the most intimate part of being a human being.
Now, as I gaze at my kids during dinner, I realize they are living out their own stories. They are the heroes of those stories and my job is to guide them along the way, allow them to fall down from time to time, and help them up when they ask. I have to humble myself and learn to watch their stories unfold from a distance. I must not interfere, but cheer them on and allow them to discover life.
I’ve also discovered that this applies to all my relationships. Everyone I interact with is living out their own stories and they are the heroes of those stories as well. I’ve learned that people don’t need heroes, they need guides. People need others that are willing to sacrifice ego and simply help.
I used to think that the only way I could help was to tell a person everything I knew about a particular subject, when I just needed to listen and maybe nudge them a little. I brought a “hammer” to every relationship, when all the person needed from me was to simply be present. I’ve hurt a lot of relationships because I thought I was the hero, when instead, I needed to be the guide.
We elevate heroes in our society when what we truly need are more guides. Our world needs more people that are willing to check their own egos for the good of relationships, to be present and willing to guide others to victories. If you truly want to win, then stop trying to be the hero in every situation and be willing to guide others along their path, allow them to be the heroes, and favor will eventually find you.
If you want more information about this concept then please visit Donald Miller’s blog at www.storylingblog.com.