Quantcast
Latest Stories

Superman versus the teenaged brain

A father learns from his father–finally

By

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! Look, up in the sky, it’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!” Those were the classic words that my siblings and I chanted each time the “Superman” cartoons aired on TV.

We loved Superman. He was not just a hero. He was the classic superhero. He was so perfect that he did not even tell a lie. He could do anything he wanted, but he chose to help people. The police and army listened to him. He truly was a super-man.

As we grew older, we felt frustrated as new experiences showed us a bigger and confusing world beyond our home. We wished that Superman was a real person to help and guide us. And as we got even older, we began to realize that he was just a character in comic books and on television.

My own superhero

Luckily, in the real world, I had my own superhero. My father was a superman to me when I was a child. He was so tall he could reach the highest-placed objects on shelves. He was so strong he could move furniture (when my mother would redecorate) and he could easily carry me and another sibling on each arm at the same time.

He was an athlete—in better shape than many of his peers—and seemed to be able to play all sports at a high level.

He was the smartest man around—my math homework was easy for him to understand.

As a Philippine Military Academy graduate, he had a dislike for lying. The military and police respected and listened to him. As an officer in the Philippine Air Force, he was a strict disciplinarian who practiced physical punishment. And we kids listened to and obeyed his words like they were the law.

He could do no wrong in our eyes. My brothers and I wanted be like him—to go to the PMA and be soldiers.

Just a man

But something about him changed as we grew older. As our knowledge of the world expanded, my father’s super powers seemed to diminish. We were teenagers then and we thought we knew it all.

Dad’s old, outdated knowledge didn’t seem to be on par with our new ideas. We felt that the things we learned in school and from friends were more than he had learned.

He was no longer infallible. We began to see flaws in him. He made mistakes.

As our bodies developed, we grew bigger. Our father was no longer super strong to us. We felt faster, stronger and, in some ways, smarter.

Dad was no longer Superman. He was not the Man of Steel. He was just a man.

Suddenly we no longer wanted to be like Dad. We wanted something else. We did not want to be soldiers. To be different, we spent more time with our friends than with Dad (and Mom).

Teenage phase

I have learned that this is a natural and confusing phase teenagers must go through. Between childhood and adulthood, the teenage body radically changes. The human genitals develop 10 years before the brain is done with its maturing process! Adolescent brains can think, solve problems, learn and remember, but the connectors between their thinking center and their emotions are not yet fully functioning.

At this time, teens (like I was) have a feeling of greatness and superiority over their parents. This period is nature’s way of preparing them for adulthood.

At this stage, the emotional dependence of the child on the parents is meant to be broken down. This will later allow the child to be able to make independent choices all the way into adulthood.

Parents, do not despair if you see this pattern in your own child. Remember that we felt this way at that age. Be comforted that it is a (normally) passing stage.

When the teenage brain fully matures, things begin to settle down and make more sense.

My father never pretended to be more than the man he was. My child-brain saw a superman. Now, as adult and father myself, I see him in a different light. My own experience as a dad help me understand the man. I see a man who laughs—and cries. I see a man who strives, sacrifices, tires and feels pain. A man who raises his family the best way he humanly knows how.

I respect and love my father more than ever.

As Mark Twain once said, “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Family , Lifestyle , Men



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  2. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  3. This is not just a farm
  4. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  5. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  6. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week?
  7. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  8. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  9. Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  10. The truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, eggs benedict, chicken leg confit are excellent
  1. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  2. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  3. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  4. France makes work beyond 6 p.m. illegal
  5. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  6. South Koreans crave Asia’s smelliest fish
  7. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  8. Ever heard of HydroBob?
  9. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  10. Boots Anson-Roa to wed in Eddie Baddeo
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  4. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer
  10. Ex-Givenchy model fights for ‘Yolanda’ survivors

News

  • Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  • Drilon, Nancy Binay urge Filipinos to strengthen faith
  • ‘Yolanda’ toll now at 6,300 – NDRRMC
  • ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  • Moderate earthquake jolts southern Iran
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • Netizens seething in anger over Aquino ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
    Marketplace