Ok, I’m starting a new feature on Westcheddar called Dope Dads. As a new father, I have a growing appreciation for other father’s parenting styles and the personalities that come along with them. There are a bunch of Dads out there that I admire, in the real world and in the fictional world (TV, movies, books, etc), and I’m slowly but surely developing my own style and personality as a father. So as a tribute to the fathers who inspire me, in the past and present, I present Dope Dads.
The first Dad I’d like to give props to is Rick Moranis’ nerdie character in the movie Parenthood, Nathan Huffner. Remember this dude? So funny. I grew up watching this movie over and over as a kid, and Nathan Huffner popped into my head the other day and I started cracking up out loud to myself thinking of how outrageous he was. Throughout the whole movie, he’s constantly teaching his daughter Patty, who’s probably about three years old, about the square root of numbers, martial arts, foreign languages, and other subjects she’s obviously way too young to be learning about. I mean, look at the picture above. She’s reading Franz Kafka!!!! And it should be noted too that he has a hot wife. Here’s some funny Nathan Huffner quotes from Parenthood…
1. On hard work:
“Look Patty, all I’m saying is, if you want to have just an ordinary academic career, and attend an ordinary university, that’s your prerogative. But I must tell you, I think you’re selling yourself way short.”
2. On the importance of family:
“Grandma’s welcome to stay with us for a while. It’d be valuable for Patty to have a multigenerational influence.”
3. On staying ahead of the curve:
“See Grandma, Patty studies Eastern philosophy. Our future leaders will have to be much more in tune with the Oriental mind.”
4. On discovering new cultures:
“Patty, ven aqui. That means “come here” in Spanish. I’ve got a tape of a mariachi band. An authentic indigenous native Mexican form of music.”
As funny as I think Nathan Huffner is, I have to admit it, he’s got the right idea. I want my kid to be smart too! I think it’s awesome to get your kids started on reading and math and language and stuff like that when they’re young. But where Nathan went wrong in the movie, and the valuable lesson he learned, is that as much as you want to teach your kid to be intelligent and study, it’s very important that they have FUN too. By the end of the movie, Nathan learns to be the goofy Dad, and falls back on being so rigorous about Patty’s studies. He finally plays with her like she’s a kid, because she IS a kid! So as my son gets older, I will take that lesson along with me. As much as I joke that I’m gonna make my son mad smart by reciting him Shakespeare sonnets and teaching him long division when he’s in pre-school, I know that there has to be a balance. Kids need to learn, but they also need to have loads of fun!!!!! They need a Dad who will educate them, but also make them laugh and smile and enjoy their childhood. Nathan Huffner found the balance, and I hope to find mine too.
Stay tuned for more Dope Dads in the coming months here at Westcheddar. Special shout out to my own father Jimmy Izo who’s turning 65 this Sunday, the dopest Dad of all time!!!! Feel free to leave your nominees for Dope Dads in the comments section. Thanks for reading…