He calls himself Batman but is always asking me to help him find his Superman cape, which is in fact one of his daddy’s blue t-shirts.
The floor of his room is littered with almost every superhero imaginable — Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Ninja Turtles, Captain America, some green guy with wings whom I believe we acquired in a Happy Meal.
Many of my moments alone with Wyatt are now spent playing pretend. He’ll rush to his Batmobile (a.k.a. Batman Power Wheel) and announce, “Let’s go fight them mean guys, Robin.”
Interestingly, Wyatt hasn’t taken the time to become acquainted with many villains.
Shredder and the crew of crazy characters who go up against Batman have somehow earned the right to be called by name. Everyone else from Gargamel to the Krang is just known as “mean guy” around our house.
I thought about this last week while reading an article called “Hollywood’s Hero Problem.” The gist of it was that our society has ceased to be able to distinguish being heroes and villains.
In some cases, such as “Despicable Me,” the hero of the story is actually a villain who just needs our love.
We’ve come to believe that evil isn’t reality. As a result, the author argued, we now try to rationalize all evil acts.
If we can find a shred of evidence to suggest that the person responsible for a mass shooting was a decent guy having a bad day, then we’ll find ourselves making excuses for the underdog.
If he was being bullied or simply ignored by those whose lives he took, then the victims become the villains. Then the villain becomes a victim or even a misunderstood hero and eventually the whole idea of personal responsibility is swept under the rug.
The article gave me plenty of food for thought, specifically about where modern heroes are hiding if we are no longer willing to recognize them.
The answer is right in front of our eyes.
Last week, I went to the Bankhead House and Heritage Center for a sneak preview of the new military exhibit. The displays that hit me the hardest were those dedicated to the Holocaust and prisoners of war.
There are those among us who lost entire years of their life to an earthly hell, and they’re not just the ones we see on CNN around Veteran’s Day or when a book about their unit gets released.
They might be our cranky next door neighbor or the older man standing quietly behind us in the line at the grocery store.
The folks we are so fast to dismiss are usually the ones who have a fascinating story they might want to tell.
This week I sat down with an 84-year-old Florida man who was in Cordova on a mission trip with Holmes Baptist Association. Because of health problems, he was under strict orders from his doctor not to do any hard labor.
As a result, he had time to sit down and chat with me for as long as I wanted, which ended up being more than an hour.
Very little of what we talked about made it into the article, but I will cherish his stories in my heart forever.
Out of respect for him, I won’t repeat the personal details that he shared with me. However, I will say that Mr. Mark Crawford is a living testimony to finishing well no matter how many tragedies we endure or how long we run from God.
If you want to meet a real-life superhero, don’t look for the cape; look at the heart.