Evil isn’t cut and dry. Real life is messy and the gray areas are often wider than the black and white. As a parent, it is scary to think that my baby must navigate it and make his own decisions as independence slowly takes root.

He stood in the middle of the room with his cape flapping in the wind of the ceiling fan, and his keen senses surveying the scene.

Super Connor was on duty.

His head shot up when a presence filled the room; an enemy’s consistent breath as she moved across the floor, and an “oomph” as she plopped down in the center of the couch. And then — as she looked up from licking herself — their eyes met.

They battled each other in the living room and then hours later cuddled on the couch at naptime. They chased one another through the house and then shared lunch (Connor had a habit of sneaking Alpo until he was five.)

A three-year old super hero and his drooling, canine, nemesis — it was an endearing relationship.

I don’t think our boxer, Sadie Jo, ever understood herself to the be the bad guy, and considering all she withstood her title really fell under best friend. Now as her once chestnut brown coat becomes white and her playful demeanor slows into frisky spurts, Super Connor is about to turn eleven-years old and old his suit and cape went into the donation pile long ago.

But the bad guys are still out there, and they don’t fight living room battles.

My little superhero daily enters a world where good and evil aren’t so easy to separate and I am doing my best to teach him how to know the difference. As he grows taller and his steps take him farther (and you should see the size of that boy’s feet) I know that he is on the cusp of facing all the things I want to shield him from.

When the laughter in the hallway is directed at him.

When a friend offers him something that all the cool kids are doing.

When his convictions become blurred by a society that questions him.

Evil isn’t cut and dry. Real life is messy and the gray areas are often wider than the black and white. As a parent, it is scary to think that my baby must navigate it and make his own decisions as independence slowly takes root.

But for now, he is only ten and a window of opportunity exists that will soon close.

Connor likes talking to me (which I know may one day fade into a slamming bedroom door) and he wants to know what I know. His ears go up like antenna the moment I get into a conversation and afterward I get peppered with questions.

“What were you talking about mom?”

“Oh nothing, buddy,” I generally say.

But lately there are times I’ve sat him down and talked to him about the topics he overheard (age appropriately of course) because I am starting to realize as he slowly becomes a man, I must prepare him for it.

Because no matter how much he wants it to, the world won’t bend to Super Connor’s will. But it doesn’t mean that he can’t still fight for good.

He will face rejection. I will teach him to rise under its glare.

He will hear words that stab his heart and cut through his self-esteem. I will teach him his true value comes as a wonderfully made creation of God.

He will get slapped with injustices — and he will watch others suffer it too. I will teach him to fight fair and to stand up for others.

Most of all, and despite what society teaches, I want Connor to know the world doesn’t revolve around him — and honestly, I don’t want it to. Because he needs to learn humility in this often me-focused society, so that when things don’t go his way he isn’t thrown into a tailspin.

These are all lessons we are learning along the way through what I like to call teachable moments — and I know that I won’t always be around when they happen. I also know that he will sometimes make the wrong choice.

That’s why I always want Super Connor to know — along with his now almost eight-year old sidekick who unwillingly fought under the name Diaper Boy and wishes to remain anonymous — that he can always come to me. No matter what.

And now to work on my husband — he thinks he is Batman.

Meg Duncan has lived on the same corner in Hannibal for most of her thirty-something years. Raising two boys and one husband, she writes about real life because it is far better than fiction. The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Courier-Post.