Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dads in the world!
I’m lucky to have an embarrassment of riches in wonderful Dad-examples in my life: my own father, retired engineer and ex-soccer coach, who took us camping every summer and taught me how to change the oil in my car; my father-in-law, retired math and computer whiz, who attends all my boys’ games and recitals, and seems to be always teaching them something new; and my brother, whose loving devotion to my niece has helped make her the strong, confident young woman she is today.
And then there’s my husband, Dad-extraordinaire. Yesterday, our three boys helped their dad pick out a new grill for his Father’s Day present. We decided Dad needed to be involved in the process, but I was surprised at the fervent opinions that came from the boys. Apparently, this was a momenteous decision! After lessons in rational decision-making, and bringing home a box half the size you might imagine, Dad proved his dad-prowess by helping Worm Burner assemble the grill. You might think that Worm Burner was helping Dad, but Dad insists he didn’t do much of the work, and I believe him. Dad has been training Worm Burner on use of the tools and following instructions since he was a Wee One. And a great Dad knows when to let the little guy take the lead and prove his mettle.
Which brings me to fictional Dads, and how they are often absent or outright evil in children’s fiction. I stumbled across this great article about the Top 10 Dads in Science Fiction from wired.com’s Geek Dad (um, how great is that?). I can’t decide if my favorite is Bill Adama or Arthur Weasley, but I would love to see more of these strong-dad characters in my boys’ reading. As a writer, I understand the difficulty – a child character is more likely to encounter adventure and danger if his/her parents are absent. But the older/wiser guide is a staple of heroic fiction as well. Wouldn’t it be great if that character could be Dad as well?