The Unrecognized Hero

This VM commercial went viral a few days before the Super Bowl. It aired yesterday during the second quarter, but it had well over 11 million views as of Saturday evening. Crazy!

It seems to pull all the right strings: clever and original idea, kid in a Vader costume, and some real-life tension of trying to do something and it not working out. To top it off, Dad comes to the rescue!

What is heartwarming about this brief, 1-minute story is that the father is the unrecognized hero.

In the end, as parents, will we be okay with becoming unrecognized heros to our children?

We do many things to raise our children: We train. We equip. We discipline. We demonstrate. We model. We love. What if, down the road, we don’t necessarily get credit for all of this? What if our “sacrifice” is never acknowledged? Will we be okay with that?

In a selfish way, I want the beneficiary (my children) to see that the benefactor (me) is actively working in their lives. The fact of the matter is this: maybe, just maybe, it won’t be until later on in life where they see the positive impact that Christ (through me) has made in their lives.

I recognize, as a parent, that the majority of our “work” is camouflaged, behind the scenes. The more I think about it, that may be the best place for us to be–in the wings and out of the way, so the glory can be given to the One who deserves it.

When I examine our family right now, here are a few examples of the “work” that Jen and I cherish:

  1. Serving others – allowing them to be present in the times we serve others: having them come along as we bring meals to friends/families, committing to pray for others as a family, etc.
  2. Filling our house with Scripture – constantly reminding them that God’s word is powerful and transforming: writing scripture on their bathroom mirror, making magnetic refrigerator cards, surrounding them with Bible verses put to songs, reading the Word daily, etc.
  3. Being present – understanding that the investment of our time in our marriage and children is one of the most powerful, and unspoken indicators of our faith: being available to seize teachable moments, share in laughter, capture memories, and model discipline.

Do you have an “unrecognized hero” story? If this was you, would you be okay with that?

56 Comments

  • Michael

    February 7, 2011

    Filling your house is crucial.

    Dustin, it’s obvious that you guys are doing a good job. An unrecognized here? Man, there are several but I think the biggest would be my dad. When I went to college he gave his life to Christ and now he is a pastor of a church in West Virginia. I need to tell him how much he has influenced me.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Thanks, Michael. I appreciate your comment. I encourage you to call him today! :)

      Reply
  • bill (cycleguy)

    February 7, 2011

    Cool commercial. And no, I didn’t see it during the game. I saw it HERE FIRST! :) I think we all have to realize that it takes more than just mom & dad to raise children. My unsung hero? My grandfather without a doubt.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Yess!! Win for AbrahamChronicles… bringing you the latest and greatest! :)

      Reply
  • Moe

    February 7, 2011

    Best commercial ever.

    My mom by far is the unrecognized hero. She dealt with two boys, no dad in the house, and being the provider for all our needs (she was a teen when she had my brother and I).

    I feel bad because I didn’t really appreciated this while young. But now as a dad, I am so grateful.

    Of course, I see this and recognize Jesus all over my life, even then.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Your mom sounds like an amazing woman. I know what you mean- I didn’t appreciate some things until I got older as well.

      Reply
  • Jim F

    February 7, 2011

    I enjoyed the commercial last night and again here. The youth pastor who influenced my life is really an unsung hero.

    Good thoughts Dustin

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Jim, I know where you’re coming from. I have a friend (who is more of a friend right now, but was a small group leader when I was in high school) who I feel is the same thing to me. Just had lunch with him a couple weeks back, and is always an encouragement. Grateful for our 15 year friendship.

      Reply
  • Donald Borsch Jr

    February 7, 2011

    >>To top it off, Dad comes to the rescue!

    Dustin,

    Yes! This was the only commercial I saw during SB45 that stuck with me. Not only was it Darth Vader-related, (cool!), it showed, as you pointed out, the father as being a hero. Loved. It.

    Not to seek to put Christianity on every thing I see, or try to incorporate Christianity into a commercial, but….I know that so many times, when I didn’t realize it at the time, God our Father rescued me and was the hero of the moment.

    Thank you, Dustin, for this one! Good stuff, and a great way to begin the day!

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Thanks, Donald. The word “Rescue” is such a powerful word–evokes feelings of deliverance, release from captivity, freedom from danger. Love it.

      Reply
      • Donald Borsch Jr

        February 7, 2011

        Oh, and my unrecognized hero is God.

        No, really.

        I would like to give credit to another, but even he would want me to glorify our God and not mention his name. He’s cool like that.

        Reply
  • Sandy Sandmeyer

    February 7, 2011

    This commercial was great! I love watching the Super Bowl commercials & I thought this was one of the best.

    I think that where I wanted my child to see that his dad and I were the benefactors was at Christmas. Why should “Santa Claus” get to give all the good presents when they were purchased with our hard-earned money? Santa gave Tim one present and the rest came from us. Thereby, there wasn’t tons of emphasis put on something that would go away anyway, but not taking all the fun from the kid. I think we have to be happy to be in the wing, though. Mostly it’s not what we do anyway, it’s God through us that is making our kids better in the long run.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Sandy, funny- that is what we are going to do with our kids (my parents did the same thing with us). All the presents under the tree are from us (parents), and then the stockings are going to be from Santa. Hey, we want the credit. :)

      Reply
  • Michelle

    February 7, 2011

    I only watch the superbowl for the commercials. LOL. It certainly wasn’t for that lousy half time show!

    I would like to think at some point my kids are gonna give me credit, but I know how people are. Look at how we are with God. We forget what He has done for us in a matter of minutes. We see the situation in front of us, not the bigger picture. We forget His goodness. We do have moments where we remember.

    My mom wasn’t the best parent, but in the past several years as I have struggled with parenting myself, I have way more grace for her. Now that she is gone, I wish she was still here. We take it for granted that we even have parents that love us. Our kids will do this too, I’m sure. And what I wouldn’t give to just spend one more day with her and gain some wisdom from her.

    God didn’t make us parents so we’d be appreciated. He made us parents to serve His kingdom and sometimes that includes sacrifice and failures and feeling like your kids don’t appreciate you. I feel like that a lot sometimes, but I’m learning that I just got to keep doing what God wants in my life.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      I think sometimes it has to be a faith-thing. You’re right-we are parents, first and foremost, to bring God the glory… and that involves being faithful even when we may not see the ‘fruit of our labor’. Again, michelle- thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

      Reply
  • seekingpastor

    February 7, 2011

    My grandparents for leaving a legacy of faith that is still impacting lives years after their deaths.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Matt, I have the same feelings about my grandparents. While I still have 3 (or 4) still with me right now, I’m grateful for the legacy of faith they are leaving behind. Last August, my great-grandmother passed away and I was able to travel out to Cali for her funeral. It was really special. She was, in many ways, a matriarch (of faith) for our family. Without a doubt, she loved Jesus and it something she was unashamed with.

      Reply
  • kristinherdy

    February 7, 2011

    I love that you and your wife are equipping your children to be great women of God. That’s not to say that someone couldn’t find their identity in Christ without Christian parents, but I believe you are filling up their stores with good things and they’ll rise up to call you blessed.

    The commercial was so cute. My oldest daughter just had me replay it twice so she could see – she’s a huge fan of Darth Vader (she’s drawn to the dark side, that one).

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Kristin, I really appreciate that. In many ways we get confirmations like that where “we’re doing it right”, but I feel like one of my biggest fears is that I’ll be found to be an imposter in this area (oh man, I’m certain a post will follow about that). :)

      I can’t wait to show my kids the Star Wars movies–Empire Strikes Back is one of my all-time favs!

      Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      February 7, 2011

      Kristin,

      You said:
      …but I believe you are filling up their stores with good things and they’ll rise up to call you blessed.

      What a brilliant way to illustrate our “jobs” as parents, and stewards, of the children the LORD gives us!

      Reply
  • kevin

    February 7, 2011

    Love it. I literally just posted the same thing. Well, without all the thoughtfulness.

    Reply
  • Jason Vana

    February 7, 2011

    I don’t have kids, but I try to have the same mentality when it comes to the college students and the volunteer staff team in my ministry. I know that a lot of what I do for them is unrecognized, and I prefer it that way. When I started out, I didn’t want this ministry to be about me and what I can do, but about them and what God can do through them.

    It’s always amazing to me, but usually it’s later on, sometimes after they graduate, that I hear what an impact I had in their lives. Keeps me humble I guess :)

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Jason, I appreciate your thoughts. As I shared on your blog today, I had a similar experience with the college ministers who lead our campus fellowship while in school. Like you do with your students, the leaders that we had were completely unselfish with their time and resources. They truly lived out what they taught us (community, faith, selflessness). Thank you for investing in your college students!

      Reply
  • Tony Alicea

    February 7, 2011

    Best commercial hands down.

    My mom was definitely an unsung hero. Now that I’m in my 30s, I realize that she was ALWAYS right about EVERYTHING. Pretty different tune than the one I sang growing up.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Most definitely! And, Tony, you’re mom did a great job! :)

      Reply
    • Donald Borsch Jr

      February 7, 2011

      Tony,

      Mothers are unsung heroes, to be sure. Some of us didn’t have fathers, (they were nothing more than sperm donors), but all of us have mothers. At least, I would like to think all of us have had mothers.

      Mothers carry us in their wombs, they scream as we arrive and cry when they first gaze upon us, they pull out our splinters and kiss our scrapes and scratches, they put up with our “tunes we sing” as teens, they feed us, they kiss us in front of our friends, they embarrass us, and they cry to themselves the day we leave the nest they made for us.

      Mothers rock.

      Reply
  • Ben

    February 7, 2011

    I think I’m on and off on this one. At times I want to be recognized as the hero, but often times than not I prefer to stay in the shadows, like a ninja.

    My unrecognized hero’s, are fathers who stick around. The end.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      You know Ben, I figured you more like a Pirate… Hmm… Oh well. Ninja, it is.

      Reply
      • Donald Borsch Jr

        February 7, 2011

        Nah, Ben can make pizza. And we all know the connection between ninjas and pizza.

        Pirates don’t make pizza. They just pillage the kitchen and leave parrot poop everywhere. Stupid smelly pirates. Fah.

        Reply
        • Ben

          February 7, 2011

          Turtle Power!

          Reply
          • Dustin

            February 7, 2011

            Ahh my bad. I TOTALLY forgot about the pizza. Good point, Donald.

            Ben, don’t slice me up in the middle of the night because of my premature comment. Have mercy on me.

            Reply
    • Moe

      February 7, 2011

      How about a pirate Ninja? If anyone can pull it off, Ben can. That dude is so full of awesome, he can combine both.

      He can eat pizza and share it with his parrot. Just tell him the parrot poop is anchovies.

      Reply
      • Ben

        February 7, 2011

        LOL Moe, this is getting a little too close to a Chuck Norris fact. You’re bordering a dangerous line…

        Reply
      • Dustin

        February 7, 2011

        Hilarious!

        Reply
  • Jeff Randleman

    February 7, 2011

    LOVED that commercial! It was truly creative.

    One of my unsung heroes would have to be my youth minister, Chris. He invested in my life in so many ways… I’m eternally grateful, and have become the man and father I am in part due to his influence.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Great! Thanks Jeff for your comment. Like a couple others have said, I believe there are far to many unsung youth ministers. They put in a ton of work, invest in the lives of young people/students. Also, like I mentioned in a previous comment, I’ve had a very similar experience with my previous youth pastors/small group leaders.

      Reply
  • Ben Reed

    February 7, 2011

    I saw this commercial yesterday, and having a son of my own, I absolutely loved the commercial.

    And your thoughts here help me process it in a different way. I’ve got some unsung heroes I need to touch base with. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Thanks Ben, glad you were challenged and I hope you do reach out to those people! Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • Sean Sabourin

    February 7, 2011

    I don’t have a story at this time but I did want you to know I so appreciate your comments about the three points you made in the post about what you and your wife do for your children. Such a great reminder to us parents about the ‘roles’ we play in our kids lives! Well done, well said! Thanks.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Sean, absolutely! You’re very welcome.

      Reply
  • Melissa Brotherton

    February 7, 2011

    I saw the tail end of this commercial last night, I ran in the room when I heard everyone laughing. I’m so glad you posted it. Haha! I love it. And, can’t you totally feel the excitement that dad felt in helping his son use his powers?

    My unsung hero is my husband. On the 24th we celebrate our 10 year anniversary, and I know I would not be the person I am today if not for him. We’ve grown up together, since we began dating at 17-years-old. I can never thank God enough for bringing Josh into my life.

    My desire to be unrecognized waivers. There are times when I’m alright with not getting the accolades for an accomplishment. So much of parenting is this way. However, there are times when I really like to know that someone noticed and appreciates what I’ve done.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Melissa, that is awesome. 10 years as a married couple is a big milestone. Early Congrats!!

      I feel like I know what you mean (in a way)–I feel like my wife is the same way sometimes. She is one of the most kind and selfless people I know. But, from time to time I know she is grateful for the the affirmation and “notice” that I appreciate her and what she does from time to time. Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  • jay sauser

    February 7, 2011

    Good stuff man, good stuff. I’ve prayed since college that my kids would do greater things than me spiritually because of the way I raised them. Kinda fits in with what youre talking about…i think.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Jay, I appreciate what you said. I need the reminder sometimes to pray for children’s “future faith”. And ultimately demonstrate an honest faith in my own life as well.

      Reply
  • Some Wise Guy

    February 7, 2011

    Dustin – great call out.
    I love that it is the dad who is the unsung hero. So often on tv shows and commercials the dad is portrayed as an idiot or absent altogether.

    As a stepdad I definitely can identify with the plight of the “unrecognized hero” because I’m not the “real” dad. I hope I.M. recognizes the significance of my role in his life someday.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 7, 2011

      Oh man, I’m certain he will. In only the few weeks that we’ve interacted, I’ve seen and read about a dad who truly loves and cares for his kids. Keep up the great work man!

      Reply
  • Tom Raines

    February 8, 2011

    Great Stuff Dustin, I missed the super bowl and all the comercials (long story) so I saw it here first. I pray I am watching my children close enough to see opportunities to help them see the power of God.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 8, 2011

      Thanks Tom- I think attentitiveness is key, so that we take advantage of the opportunities, large and small in our kids’ lives.

      Reply
  • Keri

    February 8, 2011

    My pastor’s wife was giving a seminar on “Women of Faith” and queried some people in her life (including me) about women who had nurtured their faith. When she asked me, “Can you tell me about the women in your life who have nurtured your faith?” I immediately started crying. No one had ever asked me that question before, but the names and faces of very specific women came to mind when I heard that question. Other than my own mother and grandmother, I thought of the women in my life who voluntarily gave of their time to nurture the faith of many children for whome they had no responsibility-Sunday school teachers, youth workers, and teachers.

    I had the privilege of attending Christian school all my life. On Wednesdays in elementary school, Mrs. Schaeffer would come and share Jesus with us. Not only did she have an amazing talent for flannelgraph, she taught us hymns! Hymns that bring me to my knees with tears when I hear them now because I am immediately transported to my childhood and my childlike faith. It is a powerful moment. Makes me cry just thinking about it now. And, I’m so grateful for that pillar of faith that woman was in my life. Man, I could write a post about this, Dustin! Thanks for getting my wheels turning.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 8, 2011

      Keri, this is so true. You’ve brought to mind many people in my life who are ‘unrecognized heros’ – I too feel privileged to have grown up in the church. I can specifically name 2 or 3 people who had immense impacts on my life- they demonstrated what honest and true faith looked like… and they were a small group leader, a youth leader, and a campus pastor.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • Lizzie

    February 9, 2011

    Good post, and cute video! I hadn’t seen it before.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2011

      Thanks Lizzie, I appreciate you stopping by!

      Reply
  • Nathan

    February 9, 2011

    Hey Dustin, glad I stumbled on your Twitter account today – awesome blog you have here. Love this post – actually posted the same video on my blog, but absolutely love your application about being unrecognized heroes to our kids.

    Looking forward to getting to know you.

    Reply
    • Dustin

      February 9, 2011

      Nathan, just saw that on your blog. Awesome! I appreciate you commenting, and thanks for stopping by as well!

      Reply

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