December 04, 2015 01:15 PM

He’s played Thor in a slew of superhero movies, a starving sailor in the upcoming In the Heart of the Sea and, soon, a receptionist in the all-female Ghostbusters reboot, but Chris Hemsworth‘s favorite role of all is fatherhood.

In an interview with Parade magazine, Hemsworth opens up about how daughter India Rose, 3½, and twin sons Sasha and Tristan, 20 months —  his kids with wife Elsa Pataky — have completely changed his priorities.

He also shares an adorable moment between him and India that occurred during a recent car ride.

“My little girl was in the backseat with me. I was really tired, and I leaned over and I put my head in her lap, without even thinking about it. I just wanted to lie down a little bit and sleep because it was a 40-minute drive,” he says.

“And she started patting my head and singing a song through her pacifier … I looked at my wife, who was in the front seat, and she had tears in her eyes.”

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Hemsworth, 32, continues, “There’s the idea that we as parents spend all this time protecting our children. No, I think they’re protecting us. Sitting in the car with my head on her lap and her singing to me, there was this understanding of, ‘Wow, she’s looking after Dad, that’s her job.’ “

“That was such a joy. Oh, there’s nothing better!” he says. “It was the happiest moment of my life.”

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The actor says becoming a father has taught him several important life lessons. The most important one?

“For the first time, it’s not about me anymore,” he explains. “This internal dialogue about my own boring story isn’t at the forefront of my thoughts. It’s about them now, their welfare. If I make a film, what is that going to allow us to do? What is it going to give them?”

Hemsworth adds, “That’s been really refreshing, I’ve got to say, because it’s so easy to become self-centered, particularly for me in this business.”

— Andrea Park

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