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We can do better than TV dads like Homer Simpson

TV Dads | Stepping Up | FamilyLife | Tribute to Dad

Homer Simpson … Peter Griffin … Ted Mosby … Stan Smith … Phil Dunphy … Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor … Cliff Huxtable. What do all these have in common? They are TV dads.  And most of them are not the kind of man who should be left to lead a family. From being dim-witted to overbearing, from conservative values to trying to get their son to have sex for the first time, these dads represent various aspects of what our culture thinks of and imagines when it comes to representing fatherhood in America.  Some of them represented the honorable and virtuous aspects of fatherhood but a majority of them characterized dads as out of touch, less intelligent than their wives, unable to control their children, laughable, and almost a detriment to the family. We also don’t pretend that Father Knows Best is the perfect model for fatherhood either. But, let’s face it, dads haven’t gotten the “good nod” when it comes to on-screen representation.

Unfortunately, the attributes that are hyperbolized in fatherhood are too evident in reality in too many homes around this nation. One thing that can be said about every dad on the list above is that at least they were there, at home with their families. But are these the kinds of characters we want to emulate? No, of course not. Despite television’s attempt to reduce dads to lying, cheating, lazy, harmless, or harmful oafs, we know that there are many, many dads that love and lead (or have loved and led) their families well. Stephen Colbert states it as it is:

“America used to live by the motto “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if “Father Knows He Has Children.” We’ve become a nation of sperm donors and baby daddies.”
― Stephen ColbertI am America

We are tired of seeing dads beaten down and portrayed as buffoons or, at best, inconsequential. We want to raise up a generation of men who believe that being a man of God, a husband to one wife, a leader of integrity and moral character in his church and community, a great friend to other men and a caring and intentional father is noble and worth pursuing with every ounce of his being.

So, here’s our plan over the next 10 days as we head into Father’s Day on June 16.  We are going to honor dads who have done it well. Not perfectly. Not completely. Not so they would get recognized. We will be sharing a number of tributes that various people have written to their fathers over the past few years and that have been published on And, we’ll share Dennis Rainey’s tribute to his father, “Hook” Rainey on Father’s Day. Also, if you have a tribute that you want to give to your father, would you share it in the comments below or on our Facebook page at  We’ll collect those and put them into a post as well, and you might be able to share it with your father as a surprise tribute!


In his book, The Forgotten Commandment, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.). Following are examples of a tribute. Click here for more information on honoring your parents and for more tribute examples.

Tributes to Stanley Overby, Jr., from his sons, Spencer and Steve:

A dad is someone who wants to catch you before you fall but instead picks you up, brushes you off, and lets you try again. A dad is someone who wants to keep you from making mistakes but instead lets you find your own way, even though his heart breaks in silence when you get hurt. A dad is someone who holds you when you cry, scolds you when you break the rules, shines with pride when you succeed, and has faith in you even when you fail … my Dad is everything a dad should be and then some.

Dear Dad,

I believe that something store-bought is not worth half as much as things made from the heart. So for your 75th birthday I sit here and recall all the things you have done for me, and the things we have done together, and I find the list really long.

When I close my eyes, I can still see you caring and taking Tina to the vet shaking, and making popcorn, the family car trips, and you dropping me off at Aunt Gene’s, me throwing up in your new ’66 LTD, and you yelling “get that kid out of my car.” I remember going to work with you at the factory riding in a big truck. Learning how to have a tab and order Shirley Temples. I remember you never spanking me, learning how to play golf as a family, breaking Steve’s black stick horse, sharing anchovy pizza, building slot cars with a broken hand, stripping furniture and finding coins. I remember making furniture in the garage, getting a trash can for Christmas, taking care of your mother, building a fort, ripping up Steve’s new tennis shoes because Mom was crying, picking up all the bats and leaving Little League practice. I remember your going to Promise Keepers with Steve and I and celebrating our Lord together, your being the best man in my wedding and your teaching me that nothing comes between you and your wife. I could go on and on. It’s funny, the older you get the more vivid your childhood memories become. The older I get the more I long for those carefree childhood days when all was good and the only worry was if Dad was going to beat me at cribbage after dinner.


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  1. June 4, 2013    

    We can do wa-a-ay better!

  2. Alex Rezz's Gravatar Alex Rezz
    June 4, 2013    

    I think we can do better than citing Stephen Colbert…

    • MenSteppingUp's Gravatar MenSteppingUp
      June 5, 2013    

      Alex, whereas we appreciate your sentiment, just because we may not agree with someone politically or theologically doesn’t mean that they aren’t worthy of being cited. Is there something wrong with the quote? It’s pretty accurate don’t you think? When someone is cited it’s because the quote points something out that is true. It doesn’t mean you agree with everything that person says or does. If that was the case, we probably shouldn’t be quoting anyone :). If we quoted him on his theology or something else, your point might be valid but it seems in this case his quote fit the story. Hope you weren’t offended. Thanks for the comment.

    • Largo's Gravatar Largo
      June 27, 2013    

      Then step up and find us better quote.

      • Largo's Gravatar Largo
        June 27, 2013    

        (There should be an “a” before “better”. I regret the typo.)

      • Largo's Gravatar Largo
        June 28, 2013    

        To be clear, I was addressing Alex. Not the OP.

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