Father’s Day – A Good Time to Reflect and Learn?
Photos courtesy of ABC, CBS, classictelevisionshows.blogspot.com.
What was your father like when you were growing up? Can you picture him on a Saturday morning? On a weeknight evening? Working? Relaxing? Did he have a favorite shirt he always wore, a particular chair he always sat in, or a local team he always rooted for?
For the last 50 years, TV sitcoms have been feeding us a continually evolving picture of the quintessential father figure. Not surprisingly, a lot has changed since 1950. Modern-day sitcom dads rarely follow a strict 9-to-5 schedule. They’re generally more accessible and physically present in their kids’ lives. Suits and sweater vests have given way to more casual attire, and you’re not likely to spot any of today’s sitcom dads smoking a pipe or reading a newspaper made of – well paper. But the basic central kernel of fatherhood still remains. Like their predecessors, most contemporary pretend dads share an unshakeable devotion to their families. And we, the TV-viewing public have bought into the carefully wrapped package hook, line, and sinker. In fact, over the years, many Hollywood stars have become inexorably linked to the fictitious fathers they have portrayed. Robert Young as Jim Anderson in Father Knows Best, Fred MacMurray as Steve Douglas in My Three Sons, Robert Reed as Mike Brady in The Brady Bunch, Tim Allen as Tim Taylor of Tool Time, and Bob Saget as Danny Tanner on Full House are just a few of the more recognizable faces.
Many of these shows endured the test of time, delivering hundreds of episodes over multiple decades. The child actors grew up before our eyes. The adult actors began to gray. But, in retrospect, how close do you think these fictitious fathers came to depicting the real deal? Can you see your dad in any of these famous characters? Was your dad anything like Ward Cleaver from Leave It to Beaver, the mild-mannered, but firm patriarch able to resolve any mess with a bit of sage advice? Or was he more like the bombastic, but lovable blowhard George Jefferson from Movin’ On Up, who often caused the mess in the first place? Can you see shades of him in the bungling, but well-intentioned character of Phil Dunphy on ABC’s award-winning sitcom Modern Family? No, no and no? If your dad defies all the familiar and clichéd stereotypes, he really must be one-of-a-kind.
Regardless of the generation you were born into, being a dad is undeniably tough. It’s not hard-wired into your DNA. There is no fool-proof guide book. You can’t get better at it by binge watching the latest family-focused sitcoms. And you can’t opt for a time-out when you’ve had enough. You’re expected to be a provider, protector, role model, mentor, and friend from the time your new bundle of joy takes his first breath to the time you take your last. Those of us who are lucky grew up with fathers who managed to juggle all these roles with strength, grace and good humor. And if we are really lucky, some of our fathers’ parenting know-how actually rubbed off on us. That’s what’s so great about Father’s Day. It’s a chance to remember and reflect on everything we’ve learned from our fathers – from what they did right, as well as from what they did wrong.
So the next time your teen (if you have a teen) comes home loudly proclaiming that the car he hit from behind was actually to blame or that he didn’t realize when you said take out the garbage, you meant do it now or that no other self-respecting teen on the planet has to abide by a curfew, don’t give into the urge to lock him in his room and throw away the key. Stop, breathe, and ask yourself what would your dad have done. If you like the answer, it might be time to say thank you. Father’s Day is right around the corner. Now would be a good time to invite your father over, barbecue a couple steaks and watch a few episodes of Breaking Bad - because what self-respecting 21st century dad doesn’t identify - even a tad - with the character of Walter White, mild-mannered chemistry teacher by day and ruthless defender of the family by night. And when you’re through fantasizing about living dangerously, be sure to watch a rerun of Father Knows Best - just for good measure.
Dads, with just a few days to go until Father’s Day, you need to give the shoppers in your family some serious hints about what you really want. The time for subtle nudges has passed. Although we know you love your impressive collection of “Best Dad” mugs, aprons, and paper weights, why not throw out a few ideas of your own this year. Scroll through our Gift Guide for a closer look at Epic Mens’ wide selection of apparel and accessories. Whether our customers are searching for formal, business, or casual wear, we pride ourselves on making it easy for discerning shoppers to find exactly what they’re looking for - quickly and painlessly. And shipping is always fast and free. In fact, shopping at Epic Mens is so easy, your family might actually end up thanking you this Father’s Day.