I don’t know why, but over the past few years I have noticed more and more single dads creeping into television shows and (especially) animated children’s movies. Not only single dads, but GOOD single dads.
And what’s better is that being a single father isn’t the sole focus or purpose of the movie (ex: Jersey Girl), so it’s not a blatant attempt to exploit a certain demographic or anything. Basically, these dads are always there trying to be a good example for their children. Normally in the storyline they’re the ones who try to understand their kids but don’t fully “connect” with them until the end of the movie, making for a feel-good moment and letting dads everywhere know that it’s never too late to connect with your kids.
Want some examples?
Glee – I won’t lie…I teared-up a bit at the Glee episode where Kurt came out to his father and his father was simply relieved that his son could love and trust him enough to confide in him because he knew all along. He is portrayed on the show as a very realistic “hetero-dad”…basically saying that while he doesn’t completely understand the love of things that his son loves, it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things because he loves him unconditionally. I think it’s a fantastic portrayal and should be viewed as inspirational. Maybe there’s a dad out there that doesn’t know how to react to his gay child, or maybe there’s a child out there afraid to come out to their parents…and this show really lets viewers know that it doesn’t have to be a big deal; that it’s okay for parents of gay children to still love each other in a healthy way.
How To Train Your Dragon – Man…could I ever relate to this movie. Hiccup is a kid who feels inferior in every way because he just can’t live up to his father’s expectations. His father is ashamed and disappointed in his son and can’t figure out why his son isn’t more like him. It’s not until the end of the movie where the father finally realizes that his son can do the things that he is good at, and these things don’t necessarily “jive” with the things that the father wants him to do. When you have an idea of what your child should be and that’s stuck in your head for so long, it can be really difficult to let that go when the child has their own path that they want to follow. Definitely a good lesson to learn.
Chicken Little – In this movie, the child has embarrassed the father publicly and he has done his absolute BEST to move forward and be the best father he can be. The problem is that while he’s kind and loving to his son, he’s not able to talk to him and open up. The son loves his father dearly, but doesn’t feel listened to…he doesn’t feel “heard”…and all he wants is his father to believe and understand him. The father wishes his wife was around to help him, but he’s intent on being the best father he can be and will do anything to be the father that his son deserves. Honestly…it’s kinda inspirational to watch the father’s journey in this movie.
Barnyard – This is a case where a father adopts his son and does everything he can to show him the right path in life, even if his son wants to have a little fun that takes him off the path from time to time. In the end, this movie is all about how the son truly appreciates his father for a great many reasons…but realizes it too late in life. So I guess it’s a good lesson to learn if you’re a child; to never take your parents or their love for granted because you never know when life can be over and you don’t want to look back with regrets on how you should have acted or what you should have said.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – Yet another example of a father who is trying his best to understand his son’s quirkiness but just doesn’t get it, and because of that wants his son to follow HIS path because he only sees failure in his son’s future if he continues on the path that he’s on. It’s another example of a father letting his son be himself and finding out that it’s okay…that his child will be alright on his own.
I really don’t know how to explain this. I’m sure there are a LOT more examples out there, but these were the ones that I’ve noticed over the past few months especially (probably because I watch these with my own son). I think it’s great that these single dads are portrayed in such a positive way because, let’s face it; single dads have gotten a (deserved) bum rap over the years. For every good single father out there, you’ve got twenty examples of deadbeat dads to add to the list.
I’m glad the view on single fathers is beginning to change in entertainment. I just hope that the fathers try to live up to those expectations in real life, too. I know that I certainly try.