Robert Young was an actor who played a father in a television show aptly named “Father Knows Best”. Growing up I watched some of the episodes in rerun and thought they were pretty funny. I also didn’t see anything wrong in this fathers approach to raising his children. In today’s world Robert Young’s character would be hard to find.
Television today portrays men as murderer’s, rapists, and cheats. Just check out the Lifetime channel for proof. Today’s father’s aren’t given much of a break either. In fact most of today’s fathers are shown as bubbling idiots and the brunt of most jokes. Find me a handful of television dads that are portrayed as smart, caring and in control and I will show you a hundred that are more in line with Homer Simpson and Al Bundy!
I have a problem with the way men and particularly fathers are not getting a fair shake in today’s world. I have, over the past twenty years, given my time as a volunteer, to help fathers get through the sad reality of divorce. I have devoted thousands of hours to help keep caring fathers in their children’s lives. I fully understand that divorce is rarely one person’s fault, as I too am divorced with a child. I know how difficult it is during and after divorce, for a man who wants to remain in his child’s life. After all, isn’t everything we see on television about Deadbeat Dads, husbands that cheat and men who run away? I am here to tell you, that is not the majority of men.
Deadbeat Dad. What does that phrase imply? Ask anyone and they will tell you that is a father who doesn’t pay his child support. Did you ever hear the term Deadbeat Mom? I know I never did. They just don’t exist do they? Lets face it, there are a lot of fathers who probably fit that term, but there are a hell of a lot more dad’s that fight just to see their kids, and they have to deal with people labeling them deadbeats because that’s how television portrays us.
So how did fathers go from such respectable men like Robert Young, Ward Cleaver, and Fred McMurray to losers like they are today? Did men really create this mess or were we dealt a bad hand? After all it is partly men who write, produce and create these televison dad’s as we know them now. Is it just that they can’t come up with a strong male parent who is loved and respected by their kids or have we all just given up.
I know that I have a lot to offer my child. I know that I can share things with her that her mom can not. I know that time lost now with my child can never be replaced. I know that lack of a father in a household is devastating on a child’s future, especially a boys. I know that men are just as capable of raising a child as a woman is. I know that real fathers are better than television fathers, because my friends dad’s were never idiots or fools or scammed by their kid’s. And I know, that as a man and a father, that I will never allow my child to believe for a moment, that her father is isn’t the single most important male influence in her life.
I say the Robert Young’s are still around, but we don’t get to hear from them too often. I say that if you are a Robert Young, let others know. Let others know, including your children, that you are not that idiot Simpson and teach them about what fathers are really like. My dad was always larger than life to me. When he walked into the room it was like everything slowed down. I always had a feeling that something special might happen when he was around and that I should pay attention. Maybe he quietly demanded that of us. Maybe it was just the awe I felt in his presence. Whatever it was it still exists today between him and I, and I wouldn’t want it ay other way. He is what a father should be. He showed me, what a father should be and that’s why I am so upset with how things have turned out …..