It’s not easy being a mom in any century but I can tell you with certainty, it’s not easy being a dad in the 21st century. If you are a new dad looking for a role model, you should probably shy away from movies as a source of inspiration. On a local radio show I heard about a published list of the ten greatest dads in movies. I was shocked so I looked the list up myself. The list comes s from the Telegraph – a daily publication in the UK that has a reputation for quality. I hope you are sitting down; here’s the list from ten to one.
10) Meet the Parents. Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) is a CIA assassin who intimidates the main character who is in love with Jack’s daughter.
9) Boyz N The Hood. Lawrence Fishburne does all he can to keep his son out of gangs. Fishburne shows what life might be like for a dad who desperately cares about his son in very, very difficult circumstances.
8) About Time. Bill Nighy champions his son; when his health falters, well, it is very touching and I imagine that many movie-goers called their father at the end of the movie.
7) [Movie title not mentioned due to inappropriate material.] The Dad is played by Eugene Levy… Let’s just say I’m not in favor of this movie being on any list involving virtues.
6) Commando. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a retired elite Black Ops Commando who launches a one-man war against a group of criminals who have kidnapped his daughter; he massacres a whole army in the process.
5) True Romance. Dennis Hopper plays Clifford Worley whose son shoots a pimp and makes off with a bag of cocaine; the dad then realizes he must get in the way of the mob to save his son's life.
4) Taken. Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) is a CIA agent who travels across Europe and relies on his old skills to save his estranged daughter, who has been kidnapped while on a trip to Paris.
3) The Godfather. Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) uses family obligations to justify lethal behavior and, let’s face it, is essentially a murderous extortionist.
2) To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), a single parent, sets a fantastic example for his children as he defends a young black man within a racist justice system while not succumbing to huge social pressure from his community.
1) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Henry Jones is played by Sean Connery who, by the way, is only 12 years older than Harrison Ford. He is Indiana’s dad; they had a lot of troubles when Indy was young but evading Hitler’s forces has brought them together to find the Holy Grail.
Two retired CIA assassins, one commando, a mob boss and Eugene Levy’s character – this list left me feeling empty. Yes, Atticus Finch is awesome, and Fishburn’s character shows great devotion but when looking at the list, don’t you feel there are better role models for dads in this century?
There certainly are, but one shouldn’t look for them in the movies. Scripture points to important virtues for being a father – patience, respect, fortitude, hope, faith and love. … and the greatest of these for any dad in any age is love. Suffice it to say, my list of the top ten dads would be quite different from the one we have just discussed probably because I would start with my own.