Dads love history, monuments, and museums. In one of nature’s cruelest twists, kids are, historically, not huge fans.
When I was a kid, my dad LOOOVED taking us to the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum. He was unphased by our groans and complaints, in fact he may have been fueled by them, as dads often are. It’s not that he didn’t care that we didn’t like it. Now that I’m a dad I realize he took ambivalence as a challenge, that he would be able to convince us of how fascinating it all really was.
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My family just got back from a trip to Washington DC for the White House Easter Egg Roll. The last time I was in DC was 30 years ago. I was 10. Coincidentally my son is now 10 (and my daughter is 12). So while we were sightseeing, I constantly compared it with what it must have been like when my dad took me there in 1993.
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Our flight left Cincinnati at 6:30am. We left our house at 3am, because dads love arriving super early for flights. Dads love to beat the rush and dads love early flights because the airport is less crowded. Etc etc etc. Some cliches are true.
One of the first things we did was walk by the White House. DC was eerily empty Saturday morning but walking along the north side of the White House a Secret Service SUV suddenly stopped and rolled down its window. “HEY!” Uh oh… “THE DAD!” Uh ohhhhhh.
Let me pause and say that my kids do not think I’m cool. Partly because nobody’s kids think their parents are cool but mostly because I am 100% absolutely positively NOT COOL. Their assessment is spot on. But this was as if I scripted a scene that attempted to convince them I am cool.
An impressive Secret Service Officer got out of the car and shook my hand. He said “We see celebrities a lot but I don’t normally stop. But THE DAD? I love your guys’ stuff.” (As contractually required I assured him our content is made by a team of talented creators and I’m basically a boring business guy at this point.)
He got his police dog out of the car and let the kids pet him, even though he’s a highly trained combat doggo.
My son told him his goal was to play Joe Biden in basketball. The guy said, “Wellll I don’t know how athletic he is.” (Leaned closer and lowered voice.) “Well, actually I do but I’m not allowed to say.”
As he went back to patrolling, I gave my kids a knowing glance that asked, “Now do you think I’m cool?”
They responded with a glance back that unequivocally said, “Still nope. But the dog was cool.” Nonetheless, I am so grateful to that guy for stopping and raising my cool score from -1 to, perhaps, 0.
Did anything similar happen on my previous trip to DC in 1993? No because my dad’s meme game was trash due to memes not existing yet.
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The rest of the day was quintessential DC tourist stuff. So go ahead and play some montage background music in your head while you glance at pics. (Star Spangled Banner is a timeless choice but I’ll also accept My Country ‘Tis of Thee.)
Cliche right? We even did the “Pretend to lean on the Washington Monument” pic.
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Did I appreciate DC more as a dad than as a 10-year-old kid? In ways words can’t describe. I stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial realizing this is the spot where Martin Luther King Jr gave the I Have a Dream Speech. I imagined throngs of people gathered. So much happened RIGHT HERE.
We went to Ford’s Theater, where Abraham Lincoln was shot. I imagined the what ifs. What if John Wilkes Booth DIDN’T do that? What if the gun jammed?
Life is tenuous. All of the moments that happened, both good and bad, celebratory and tragic, have led to the present and made our reality what it is. Historic spots, monuments, museums… they are documentation of the most important moments that got us here. They’re the inspiration for living a better life and making our children’s realities more rich and full.
I looked at my kids. Did they realize the enormity? Did they appreciate the history? My daughter said something so profound. (This is an exact quote. I wrote it down in my phone so I could get it just right.) She said, “You should be grateful to have kids like us. We’ve been up since 3am doing your crap.”
I think she gets it.
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In 2.5 days we walked over 60,000 steps. When we’d stop I’d say “I need to rest the ole gams.” (Gams being a funny word for legs.) This became our running joke. Because what is a family trip if not a series of inside jokes you can look back on later in life. So the theme of this trip was not historical reflection as intended, but rather “resting the gams.” When we walked through White House security for the Easter Egg Roll on our last day in DC, my son asked the Secret Service Officer, “Is this the gam resting station?”
In 1993, we toured the inside of the White House. We couldn’t do that on this trip. Best I could offer was the South Lawn. What an amazing experience to walk the grounds. We saw the President, First Lady, the Easter Bunny, and Jimmy Fallon.
My son shouted for the dancing duck to “hit the griddy!” What would the 1993 equivalent of this be? “Do the Macarena!”? Kids, hitting the griddy is just a modern version of the Macarena. Ruined the griddy. You’re welcome.
An attempt was made @thejoelwillis #hitthegriddy
A guy in the VIP section saw a friend near us and came over to shake his hand. My son said, “Hey dude can I get one of those too?” (a handshake). The guy shook my son’s hand and said, “Nice to meet you. I’m Hunter.”
True parenting media brand aficionados will appreciate this: I got to hang with Micaela Birmingham and Alison Bucalo from Scary Mommy!
My kids’ favorite part? A pop up concert from Sofia Carson. In true dad fashion, I didn’t know who she was (despite her 16.3M IG followers) until my daughter told me she was Evie in The Descendents. Ah yes! Chillin Like a Villain! Historic.
We were at the White House yesterday for the Easter Egg Roll. @Joel Willis’s son got a selfie with @SofiaCarson and his reaction (and the pic) are killing me 🤣
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I’ve exaggerated for comedic effect. My kids appreciated the history more than most would. Certainly more than I did in 1993.
As parents, we need to remind ourselves: the point of historic sightseeing with your kids is not to induce some epiphany about their unique place in history and the world; the point is to create memories with your kids that they’ll look back on and appreciate when they’re older.
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After I became a dad, when my kids were little, we invited my dad to go with us to the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum. I hadn’t been since I was a kid. Ya know what? Through adult eyes it really was fascinating. My dad won the challenge after all.
My kids humored us and were as interested as kids can get. But they got to spend time with their grandpa. That’s what it was about all along.
He passed away a few weeks later and that was one of the last times we saw him. I’ll be forever grateful that we took that last trip to the museum.
History isn’t only boring museums, statues, and lengthy esoteric plaques. History is personal: our family, memories, shared experiences, and inside jokes. Some fascinating, some boring. Some heroic, some tragic. That’s the stuff life is made of.
How do I plan a superhero birthday party? ›
- Go Wild With Bright Colors. ...
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Free Outdoor Superhero Games
Set up an obstacle course that requires superhero powers, like jumping and throwing items. Create building roofs from card board, hula hoops or chalk for the superheroes to jump across. Create targets that superheroes have to hit with water balloons or baseballs.
One of the most popular superhero games on Roblox is called Marvel and DC Dawn of Heroes. With more than 250 million gamers visiting the game daily, the game has become a massive hit. It's like regular superhero video games, but there is something that makes the players play this game the most.What are the 3 most popular superheroes? ›
- 5 – The Incredible Hulk. Marvel Studios. Dr. ...
- 4 – Captain America. Marvel Studios. The star-spangled man with a plan first debuted in the Marvel comics in 1941 and proved himself to be a hit ever since. ...
- 3 – Superman. Warner Bros. Pictures. ...
- 2 – Batman. Warner Bros. ...
- 1 – Spider-Man. Sony Pictures.
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A superhero is a character with extraordinary powers that performs heroic actions. Unlike police, firefighters or doctors, all of whom are heroes in their own right, superheroes are defined by their unique capabilities, such flight, strength, speed or invincibility (to name a few).What is the 2 most popular game in Roblox? ›
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- Marvel and DC Super Heroes. 63%3.3K.
- Super Hero Tycoon. 81%6.2K.
- SuperHero: Universe [UPDATE 1.9] 76%48.
- Hero and Villain Battlegrounds. 90%192.
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Create your own Superhero with Marvel Realm of Champions.Can you give ideas to Marvel? ›
Marvel does not accept or consider unsolicited ideas, suggestions, or materials.
Who is the top 1 superhero? ›
Superman was the first widely hailed superhero, appearing in Action Comics #1 in June 1938, and he was the prototype for the many costumed superheroes that followed.Who is the No 1 in Marvel? ›
When it comes to MCU fans, three iconic characters share first place with 78% of votes: Spider-Man, Iron Man and Thor. The Hulk and Captain America follow.Who was the first 10 superhero? ›
1940 Justice Society of America
The first superhero team, the JSA were initially seen on the cover of All Star Comics #3 (winter issue 1940–41). The founding members, shown left to right above, were: The Atom, Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Hawkman, The Flash, The Sandman, Hourman (then known as Hour-Man) and The Spectre.
With this increase in sales and popularity, it follows that some of the comics companies' major characters would also grow in popularity. When looking at each state's favorites, Wisevoter found that Spider-Man was the most popular in 25 states, followed by Batman in 10, and Superman in four.What are superhero exercises? ›
- 40-minute cardio before breakfast.
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Since his debut in 1938, Superman has gone through multiple reimaginings, with the vast majority of these stories being appropriate for kids of all ages.
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U.S. Marvel employees created National Superhero Day on April 28, 1995 to celebrate everyone's favorite superhero.