The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library
Happy Father’s Day to all of the amazing dads in our world!
Over the years I’ve been given the lighthearted nickname of “Daniella,” after my father, whose name is Daniel. Apparently, my friends and family think that we’re so much alike, we should share the same name. I’ll take it…I think he’s a pretty solid guy, if I do say so myself! My dad taught me to love and be compassionate toward animals, to take care of my car, to be thankful for all that I have, to embrace diversity, to love rock ‘n roll, and so many other things. He might be a small man, but he has a mighty spirit.
I’d also like to give a shout out to the other dad-like people in my life (you know who you are) – Thank you for teaching me things, leading by example, and just being part of the many wonderful memories I have! After all, I believe that parenting and family aren’t just about genetics.
Here are a few photos of my dad - at left, he's on vacation and made friends with this bird who decided he'd like to share his meal. On the right, he's shoveling a space to feed the birds after a big snow storm. He's truly an animal lover!
Just as in real life, there are impeccable dads in fiction too. Here are my favorite father figures in books, tv, and movies:
|George Banks – Father of the Bride I & II
I love George Banks. George Banks IS both my father and I. We are the over-reactors. We are passionate. We are frugal. We are so very loving…just like George. And I won’t lie, there will probably be a time in my life where I’ll have my own grocery store meltdown (he just wanted to remove the superfluous buns, people!).
George is one of my all-time favorite fictional fathers because he has a heart of gold. He adores his wife and is a pivotal family man. He’s a hard worker, who seems to treat his staff with respect and he takes time for BOTH of his children, embracing their unique personalities.
|Chris Gardner – The Pursuit of Happiness
The Pursuit of Happiness is based on the very true story of real life dad extraordinaire, Chris Gardner. If you haven’t seen this movie, I implore you to watch it. Yes, it’ll likely make you cry or at least get a little watery eyed, but they will hopefully be happy tears. The story of Chris Gardner is genuinely inspirational. Here is a father who commits himself to being present in his son’s life – after growing up without knowing his own father – no matter what the cost.
The film shows his struggle to find financial stability and later success, while raising his son solo, after wife Linda leaves. His perseverance and driving spirit are wonderful examples for his son, in my opinion. Despite setbacks and struggles, he never loses the will to succeed…and though he might not have realized it at the time, it set a wonderful example for his son to witness.
|Marlin – Finding Nemo|
There are many stories about single moms but not nearly as many for the single dads out there. This is one of the greatest! Produced by powerhouse Disney Pixar Films and voiced by an all-star cast including Albert Brooks, Finding Nemo is essentially the story of a father’s love for his son and how he has to learn how to raise the young fish on his own. One of the things I greatly enjoyed about Finding Nemo is that none of its characters are infallible – including father fish Marlin.
Marlin begins the movie a bit overbearing and overprotective (though with just cause), fumbles and gets frustrated at times along the way (what parent doesn’t!), and eventually comes to realize that the most important thing about being a parent is to encourage your children to explore the world and give them the freedom to grow into the best people (or clownfish) that they can be!
|Albus Dumbledore – Harry Potter Series|
I love a father figure who lives to teach you things and what better teacher could a child get than the genius of Albus Dumbledore! The revered headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is soft spoken and gentle when it comes to interacting with Harry Potter, whom he treats almost as an adoptive son.
Having experienced family tragedy of his own, Albus is able to sympathize with Harry’s life and lend understanding to the struggles of growing up without a parent. He looks out for Harry and gives him the knowledge he needs to forge his path in the world, always reminding him of the many people who are in his corner and love him like family. He too is a loving and gentle soul – something Harry greatly needed, after being raised by the frigid and bitter Dursley family.
|Roy & Silo – And Tango Makes Three
This award-winning children’s book is not only touching, but also based on the true story of two male chinstrap penguins (Roy & Silo) at New York’s Central Park Zoo who nested together. Seeing that the pair were bonded as a couple, a zookeeper replaced the rock that they were trying to hatch with a penguin egg from another couple who would not hatch it. Roy and Silo successfully hatched the egg and raised the female penguin, Tango, as their own.
Here are two penguins that took an unborn penguin egg, cared for it, hatched it, and raised it as their own. This happens in our human world in a sense when adoption occurs. Personally, I can think of no greater love than to do that. To take a child, who biologically isn’t yours, and raise it as if it were your own. And in essence, the child then IS indeed part of your own family. And that my friends, is why I say family is about much more than genetics. It’s about love. And Roy and Silo had it in abundance. We should celebrate that!