Sunday, October 4, 2009

How to be a good father

What Now?

As a general rule I try not to give too much thought into what I hear from the sit-coms I watch when it comes to my life. There are the exceptions like how I felt when my wife and I had our first child, I remembered this exchange from "Cheers":

Norm Peterson: Coach, you've had kids. Does a baby change you?
Ernie 'Coach' Pantusso: Are you kidding Normie, it can't even change itself.

Or the time my wife and I were about to have sex for the first time I thought of this little diddy from "Seinfeld":

George Costanza: Why do they make the condom packets so hard to open?
Jerry: Probably to give the woman a chance to change her mind.

Well last night while watching my new favorite show, "Modern Family", I heard another one, and this one really hits home. It was said by Jay Pritchett, played by Ed O'Neill of "Married With Children" fame. He asked this question at the beginning of the show - "what does it take to be a good father?" God, don't we all want to know that!!! After 30 minuets of pure funny he answers his own question with this - "90% of being a good father is just being there."

So simple and so damn true. I consider my Dad to be a wonderful father, but if you ask me what exactly I learned from him, or what great things he told me, or what my favorite all time memory of my childhood with him was it would probably take me a while to think of something, and more than likely it would be only be half right. The one thing I know for certain is that he was always there. When things were good, bad or ugly, he was there. And back when I was growing up not all fathers were like that. Most moms stayed home to raise the kids while the dads worked long hours only to see their kids about an hour out of each day. Being an accountant meant long hours during tax season for my Dad, but he spent most of those hours working when we were in school and after we had gone to bed.

I don't think it's any surprise that many kids that have issues or problems live in homes where either the father is hardly around or gone forever. When I go to pick up my girls from school I know the kids that don't have fathers around just by the way they act, and I feel so sorry for them. Not that single mothers can't raise good kids. It's done all the time. But, I think that is a small minority.

I want to be a great dad. I want my girls to always love me and want me to be around. I know that will not always be the case. I can already sense my 7 year-old is getting that "dad is such a lame ass" attitude about her. There are going to be a lot of things that are going to be out of my control, and I accept that. But, the one thing I know I can control is to be there for my kids. It may not always be convenient, or necessary, or interesting for me...but I will be there.



  1. Knowing that you are around and will be there when you need them is what matters most and is what they will rmwmber down the road.

  2. I can't watch this show when it comes on due to it's up against, SVU and Criminal Minds. Both of which I have to record for my wife since she started working nights. And I can't watch something else when two things are recording.

    So, I just watched the two episodes of MF on Hulu this weekend.

    The episode you referred too hit me a little different. I'm a step dad too. I'm there more than my son's father. Yet his dad's crap doesn't stink. His dad doesn't get the arguing or guilt trips that we get. But we're the one who is there. He doesn't see it now, but hopefully he'll understand later.

  3. My older boys' dad is in Cali but, as funny as this is going to sound, they talk to him for hours every week playing the XBox 360. They actually spend a lot of time together this way. And the benefit to being married to a cop? He IS home every day usually, and he only works 15 days a month unless he has to pull overtime.

  4. Sounds like you are on the right track...GEEZ I hope we are too :-)

  5. Really like that show - its about time there is a really funny comedy on and great portrayal of family life.

  6. Great post! I knew Modern Family would ressonate with our family as soon as we saw the previews. It continues to be funny and even with the non-sense, an amazingly accurate portrayal.

    Keep on being there.

  7. That is so true. The best times I remember with my dad were just taking walks. Of course there were the years that I thought his sole purpose was to embarrass me - now even those moments are fond memories.

  8. Very true, my dad traveled frequently while i was growing up and I intentionally chose my career path so I wouldn't be on the road when it came time to start a family. I'm now a SAHD because I hated what I did and the only jobs I was offered required frequently travel. Go figure! 'Modern Family' is a great show, love Ed O'Neill's character.