“Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.” I Samuel 17:45
When Nathan was a young child, he was captivated by stories about heroes. He spent hours in his own costumes, doing battle with swords and shields against imaginary villains.
One night we were acting out the story of David and Goliath. Nathan wanted to be David, because he knew David was the hero. Clay, of course, was Goliath. He ad-libbed some taunts with his deep Goliath voice: “I defy you, men of Israel. Send out a man. Come and fight me!” And then, looking at Nathan, he bellowed, “Why, you’re just a boy. Am I a dog that you come to me with sticks? Are you a coward?” To which Nathan straightened his back, raised his sword, and shouted boldly back in his four-year-old voice, “Yes, I am!” He wasn’t sure what a coward was, but if he was the hero, he would be one with all his heart. We couldn’t contain our laughter, but we quickly recovered and went on to make sure the young hero David could slay Goliath.
I look back on that night more than twenty years later and see more than just a fun family story. Even then, Nathan was putting hero stories into his heart. He would go on to inhabit other heroes in his childhood such as World War II hero Audie Murphy, Colonel William B. Travis of the Alamo, and his favorite hero, Superman. He told me once, “I think Superman is like Jesus because he came to earth to save people who needed help. That’s what I want to do with my life.” All those hero stories were cultivating in him a heart of faith.
Do your children have any specific heroes they identify with? Do you? If not, consider going on a hero-hunt—maybe together!