Before I go any further let me remind you that I am both a man and a father. This may be why this topic bothers me so much. I’m not talking about real dads. I’m talking about TV and movie dads. Why are so many of them simply so stupid?
My least favorite movie. Some years ago Nicholas Cage starred in a movie called Razing Arizona. I disliked this movie, and Cage’s character, so much that I wouldn’t watch any movie that he was in for years. This character was a father, but he was not a good one. He was not what I would consider a strong man. He simply irritated me. Unfortunately, this character is just one of many that have come to characterize the typical TV or movie dad.
Bob the bug man. Disney has a fairly innocent show called, Good Luck Charlie. The show is actually quite cute and I have often enjoyed watching it with my kids. But, the dad, Bob, is portrayed as barely capable of walking upright, much less leading his family. The intent of this character is probably simply to be funny. He is goofy and often quite funny, but what is the effect?
Al the shoe salesman. When I was a teenager there was a very popular TV show called Married With Children. The patriarch of this family was one Al Bundy. Al was a miserable man who was far more interested in watching TV than in being a father to his children or a husband to his wife. His wife was little more than an aggravation to him. His children were the same.
Why does it matter? We live in a day where many fathers have little to do with their children. In many cases these children don’t live with their fathers. Still many DO live with their kids, but have virtually no connection with them. Furthermore, we are seeing a generation of kids with less and less respect for their parents and other authorities. I certainly don’t completely blame TV for this, but I do thing that there are images from these bad dads that are being place into the minds of children. These effect the way they interact with adults. Also, in the case of kids without a father present, these may be the only example of what a father is that they see. What image of fatherhood will they form based on this.
Maybe this is much ado about nothing. But, in a time when families are perhaps weaker than ever before, we need men to be strong fathers. We need images of good fathers. TV is not devoid of such fathers. Consider Little House on the Prairie or The Braddy Bunch. Certainly these dads were not perfect, but they led their families and they loved their wives.
In a time when there are fewer good dads in our world and and even fewer in TV, I think it is time for the church to step up. Equip and encourage dads to be Godly men. Stand in the gap where dads are absent. Men, step it up. Be the dad and husband that God called you to be.Matt Norman
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