Jun 14, 2007

Fathers as good role models

Father's Day is around the corner, and I wanted to salute the men who raised us. However, in my searches I found few examples of good fathers. My own, for instance, will stop anything he is doing to help any of his children any time of day. Nothing is too good for us. But he was also a stern man. Stern and loving and moral. Good dads like mine abound, but today's media doesn't seem to value them.

I found plenty of evidence of bad daddies on the web, from Alec Baldwin to David Hasselhof to Woody Allen, who married his stepdaughter, to Ryan O'Neal, who mentally and physically abused his children and messed both up to the point where they publicly loathe him.

Here is a funny write up of Shakespeare's worst father. I have seen Titus Andronicus, and this little synopsis is not far off the mark.

suffice to say that the father character, Titus, isn't the best dad on the block. When one of his sons defies him and protects his sister (Titus' daughter) Lavinia, Titus kills his son (Mutius). But filicide itself isn't the sure path to being the Worst Father of All Time. So, in order to seal the deal, when Lavinia is raped and mutilated (her hands are cut off and her tongue is cut out), Titus kills his daughter (to "end her shame and suffering") in front of his pie-eating guests, Tamora and Saturninus. He explains to Tamora that her sons, Chiron and Demetrius, raped his daughter. "And, by the way, they're in the pie." Titus Andronicus is truly a fucked-up play, not only for featuring filicide and cannibalism, but also for defiling the sanctity of pie.

Then there are the dead beat dads, those who like to spread their seed all over creation but who fail to support their progeny. They get plenty of press. And then there are the thoughtless Dads, whose acts are pointless, as in this photo, which I hope to God is photoshopped.

Try as I might, I found very few tangible instances of ordinary guys doing their good dadly deeds and being held up as models of respect. Interestingly, if you do find examples, these good fathers are portrayed as wimps, like George Banks in Father of the Bride, or in the third person, as in an article, Ten Ways to Become a Good Father.

Is this an indictment of our society? We know that a strong father figure and role model is important to our own healthy development as adults. We've seen the results of absentee fathers. Take one good look at Lindsey Lohan. Then why is it so hard to find instances in newsprint or on the Web of outstanding fatherhood?
Here is a recent commendable instance: The tale of James Kim trekking 16 miles through snow and freezing weather in Oregon to save his family. He didn't make it, but his wife and children were rescued. Ironically, had he stayed in the car, he would have lived to tell the tale.

In my search, when I combined these two words "sacrifice" and "fathers", all of a sudden a wealth of examples popped up. My goodness, is this the only way a good father can find his way into print these days?


ArtfulSub said...


Nice post. The link I provide might be interesting in some ways. Former Tennis Player John McEnroe was a probably deserving former winner. It's my recollection that Mr. O'Neal's daughter Tatum (mcenroe's wife) had zero interest in sacrificing anything towards raising their children and John got full-custody.

A very interesting former winner was sportscaster Marv Alpert. No idea what he did to win, but he later got mixed up in some kind of a kinky-sex scandal involving prostitutes.

Anyway, it's nice that there's an organization that seeks to recognize good Dads.



BigAssBelle said...

i am blessed to have the papa i have. on one hand, i get irritated when folks fawn over the custodial father just because he's taking care of his kids. women do it all the time and it's not notable.

but you're right, the vast majority of daddies are good ones and it is good to recognize them for being such. i've just become aware of the power of the male influence in a little boy's life watching the developing relationship between my youngest grandson and his grandpa.

because mike was sick throughout the first 5 years of jackson's life, they didn't bond that much. of late, they're hanging out together and jackson is blossoming like a little daddy-less flower. it's lovely to see and i admire my husband's attention to this poor child.

daddy's are the best, whether grand- or regular.

thanks for the great post.

Marius said...

Yeah, my father is also a stern man. When I was younger, my brothers and I used to avoid him like the plague. He was way too strict and expected us to be perfect. Well, now, as an "adult," I've learned to appreciate my father. I am who I am today because of him. I have a strong work ethic; I'm a respectful person; and I have a strong sense of who I am. And I owe all of that to my father.

Great post! By the way, I was instructed to tag you. Check out my blog for details. It's a little late, but, hey, it's the thought that counts. Right? :)

Ms. Place said...

Tagged? Marius, I am verkempt. I shall visit your blog to see what you are up to.