This next dad is quiet. He loves sports but will pass up a big game for family. Growing up without a loving father, he was fortunate to have a mother and aunt who worked together to raise him and his sister. His aunt took him to basketball and baseball games, cultivating his love of sports. He waited into his thirties for the right person to marry and they now have a young son and a daughter on the way. You should see the look in his eye when he talks about, or plays with his two year old son. He makes sure he has lots of balls around, just in case his son takes to them. Diapers, cooking, laundry, he pitches in no matter the chore. This dad will be the dad he never had. His dedication to fatherhood and family are as obvious as his soft-spoken nature. This is what a good dad looks like.
Thankfully, the third dad did have a loving father. This dad is hard working, staying up late to catch up with a work-load that could never be caught. When he does take a break, he researches his interests in nature, science, and a myriad of other things. But he is never too busy to teach his two young daughters about different kinds of bugs, the constellations, or plants. He combs his older daughter’s hair in the morning, not as well as her mother, but not bad. Often he speaks German to his girls to spark their interests in language, even his one year old. This dad talks up to, not down to his daughters. He teases, hugs, bathes and loves. This is what a good dad looks like.
These are men I know in my life that are worthy of being symbols of excellent fathering. So what does a good dad look like? He’s tall and short, fat and skinny, Black, White, and Brown, bald or bearded, quiet and loud, but most of all proud—to be a dad!
Good Dads in Movies and on TV
In an earlier post, I discussed how the entertainment and advertising industry do a good job at making dads look bad. But I was reminded by an article in the Orange County Register that there have been some really good dads in the entertainment world. So with full credit to Amy Bentley, Contributing Writer to the Orange County Register, here are the good dads from movies and TV.
(Tell me if you notice anything about this list, as I did.)
Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird"
Single dad Atticus teaches his children dignity and integrity when he defends a black man from the racist justice system in Alabama in this classic film.
Daniel Hillard from "Mrs. Doubtfire"
The memorable Robin Williams disguises himself as a nanny to spend more time with his children in this comedy film.
Chris Gardner from "The Pursuit of Happyness"
Chris ends up homeless with his son while pursuing a career as a stockbroker but never abandons his dream of a better life.
Marlin from "Finding Nemo"
This caring clown fish searches the ocean to find his lost son and teaches him to be strong and independent.
John Walton Sr. from "The Waltons"
This TV family patriarch was a hardworking man who would do anything to protect his kids.
Matt King from "The Descendants"
Matt copes with difficult circumstances while trying to do the right thing by his kids – and his ancestors – in modern-day Hawaii.
Guido Orefice from "Life is Beautiful"
When this Jewish-Italian man and his little boy are sent to a German concentration camp during World War II, Guido convinces his son it's all a game to shield the boy from the horrors of the camp.
Charles Ingalls from "Little House on the Prairie"
Michael Landon's portrayal of the industrious, protective and wise dad from this TV series made the show an all-time pop culture favorite.
Widower Steve Douglas from "My Three Sons"
Steve did a great job raising his kids, including an adopted son, with help from his father-in-law, in this TV sitcom.
Howard Cunningham from "Happy Days"
Who wouldn't want Howard for a dad? He was funny, fair-minded and easygoing – a great 1950s dad.
Mike Brady from "The Brady Bunch"
In one episode, Marcia Brady nominates Mike for a Father of the Year award, which he wins. Most "Brady Bunch" fans would agree this down-to-earth dad deserved the award.
Ward Cleaver from "Leave it to Beaver"
Ward taught morality and always had time for his children, in this series about an idealized suburban family in the 1950s.
Philip Banks from "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
This family patriarch was actually the Fresh Prince's uncle in the hit 1990s sitcom, but his stern and loving manner earned Uncle Phil plenty of fan love.
Jim Anderson from "Father Knows Best"
Jim was the nurturing patriarch of a TV family that became ingrained in American pop culture for its idyllic presentation of family life in the 1950s.
A good dad (or mom) can look exactly like you!