In honor of Father’s Day, Kyle and I came up with a list of ten famous (to us, anyway) dads. We thought we’d let them each offer their wisdom on fatherhood.
President Barack Obama:
“We need to set limits and expectations. We need to replace that video game with a book and make sure that homework gets done. We need to say to our daughters, Don’t ever let images on TV tell you what you are worth, because I expect you to dream without limit and reach for your goals. We need to tell our sons, Those songs on the radio may glorify violence, but in our house, we find glory in achievement, self-respect, and hard work. […]
But on this Father’s Day, I think back to the day I drove Michelle and a newborn Malia home from the hospital nearly 11 years ago—crawling along, miles under the speed limit, feeling the weight of my daughter’s future resting in my hands. I think about the pledge I made to her that day: that I would give her what I never had—that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father. I knew that day that my own life wouldn’t count for much unless she had every opportunity in hers. And I knew I had an obligation, as we all do, to help create those opportunities and leave a better world for her and all our children.” (Parade Magazine, June 21, 2009)
Red Forman: Work is work. You don’t show up late. You don’t make excuses. And you don’t not work. If it wasn’t work, they wouldn’t call it work. They’d call it “super wonderful crazy fun time” or “skip-a-dee-doo.” (That 70’s Show)
Mr. Bennet: “An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do." (Pride and Prejudice)
Coach Eric Taylor: “Alright, listen up. I’m supposed to give you some fatherly and wise advice at this time in your life. Listen up. If you’re wondering if a boy’s thinking about you, he’s not. He’s thinking about sex or he’s hungry, those are the only two options.[…] That’s what they do, that’s why they lie. They’re gonna leave you waitin’ around for them to call and they won’t call. They’re gonna be cruel and they’re gonna be misleading.[…] You are beautiful, you are sensitive, you are sweet, and I don’t want to see you get hurt.” (Friday Night Lights)
Homer Simpson: “I won’t lie to you; fatherhood’s not easy like motherhood.” (The Simpsons)
Special Agent Seeley Booth [on his son, Parker]: “…don't think of him as a kid. Just think of him as a short guy who's not allowed to drink.” (Bones)
Rupert Giles [I know he’s not technically Buffy’s dad but he might as well be]: “I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, in fact I encourage you to always challenge me when you feel it's appropriate; you should never be cowed by authority. Except, of course, in this instance, when I am clearly right and you are clearly wrong.” (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Darth Vader: “You are unwise to lower your defenses.” (Return of the Jedi)
My dad, Paul, taught me that if you’re extraordinary (or a little weird), you don’t need to work to be normal just to fit in. Stay weird! Oh, yeah, and the need for “peace, love, and groovy things!”
My dad, Eric, taught me to value books and stories and words and that it’s okay to cry when they affect you deeply. Dad would read to me almost every night. He’d do all the different voices of the characters (maybe that’s why I became an actor!) and he would choke up reading the beautiful descriptions.