June 19 is coming up, and that’s easily one of the most fatherly days of the year, if not the fatherliest. So let’s talk about lessons learned from patriarchal parental units — specifically, the ones in books. Here is a handful of Life Takeaways gleaned from dads of the printed page.
Be a good role model.
If there is one nugget of wisdom that lawyer and superdad Atticus Finch imparts to his kids by way of his actions in To Kill A Mockingbird, it’s to do the right thing no matter what. Even in the face of cantankerous townspersons and societal prejudice, Mr. Finch insists on taking the high ground instead of the easy road.
Sometimes we can learn in spite of certain fathers, instead of from them. Life can really throw curveballs at you when there are three kids (and a kingdom) to manage, as shown by the plight/foibles of King Lear. When those mischief-makers get your goat, it’s best to take a deep breath and count to 10 before saying something you will regret. It sure beats having those decisions you made in anger come back to bite you in the breeches later in life, when you’re old and talking Crazy Old Man Talk.
Keep that chin up.
The father in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road shows us that a dad never gives up. Sure, not many of us are wandering around a post-apocalyptic wasteland with little more than a shopping cart and an icky cough… but it’s crucial to keep your eyes on the prize and not let the world around you get you down. That’s the spirit!
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
And by lemonade, I of course mean sweet high-octane Ostrich Races, as in the case of the learned paterfamilias in Johann David Wyss’s The Swiss Family Robinson. Shipwrecked in the East Indies with his wife and sons during a voyage to Australia, ol’ dad makes due with what supplies they have and can find, becoming the original McGuyver all while teaching his boys important life lessons at every juncture.
Those are just a few. What lessons have YOU learned from dads in books?