We’re kicking off this month with a celebration of our favorite fathers. There are some pretty wonderful dads in pop culture that we could definitely learn from.

June 1st – Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation

If Ron Swanson was a real person, he’d be disgusted that we’re divulging his personal life to you and probably sic his former creepy assistant April Ludgate on us. (Un)Fortunately, he remains a fictional character on the show Parks and Recreation so we can offer a bit of insight to who he is. We’ll try to keep this short and brief to show some respect though. Good thing we’re not like Leslie Knope, or else we’d break out the Ron scrapbooks.

Ron Swanson is a skilled artist, model husband, and doting father to three children. Despite working at the Pawnee Parks and Recreation Department for six years, he doesn’t believe in government. “Be a Man” is essentially his life standard. What really stands out from his no-nonsense attitude towards everything is his guidance in the Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, affection for his family and the lengths he will go through for them.

June 2nd – Philip Banks, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Imagine you’re raising three kids. One day there’s a knock on the door. The butler opens the door and in pops your mischievous nephew from your wife’s side. He’s been sent to live with your family from west Philly. And from the day of his arrival he rocks your upper class bougie household for the next six seasons. Watch any rerun of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and you’ll find this story, but this time it’s all the eyes of Philip Banks. Though more commonly known as Uncle Phil, he serves as the notable patriarchal figure of the show.

How Uncle Phil treats this situation is a true test of his character and giving nature that of a father. Few people would open up their home to someone else’s child and treat them like their own. Sure there’s the occasional menacing glares, slaps aside the head and threats of being kicked out. It’s all a part of their uncle-son relationship, after all Will has cracked his fair share of fat jokes.

Will’s Father Leaves

Uncle Phil helped fill the fatherless void Will had, one he’d often deny possessing.

With his own children Uncle Phil asserts the same authoritative parenting concern he shows Will. He wants his kids to not only have the best but also be the best. Aiming to provide his children with what they need he works hard. Placing them in the best schools, ensuring they had a meal on the table and whatever else they need. A luxury given the sitcom’s time not everyone could obtain.

Uncle Phil tends to be strict and grumpy throughout the series, but his heart is in the right place most of the time. Interestingly enough, Will initially perceives him to be “soft,” which we learn as the series goes on that is hardly the case. Yes, he brings home the bacon, but he also brings a reality check to the table.

He showed them by example what hard work can get you. Uncle Phil’s own backstory includes getting accepted into numerous prestigious universities through hard work despite his street background. He obtained his education at Princeton University and later went to Harvard Law School[1]. He progressed through his career as a lawyer to a judge and even once ran for office.

Growing up in a rough neighborhood and being an activist for the civil rights movement inspired him to become an agent of change in society and encourage his children to make the most of themselves, whether they are rich or poor. In serious moments, which is somewhat rare for a comedy sitcom, Uncle Phil really shines and imparts lessons on being a respectable human being – a standard we all should try to reach- despite obstacles thrown at you. The racism themed episodes, for instance, reflects a good role model for young people, even today, showcasing a man who charges into a situation with understanding and caution.

In the next segment of our June is for the Dads series, we look to childhood role models Marcus McStuffins of Doc McStuffins and David Read of Arthur.

References

1. ^ Season 2 Episode 2 The Mother of All Battles