Let’s give dads due credit

Happy Father’s Day to all the real dads who exist out there in between the stereotypical patriarchs portrayed throughout pop culture. (From cartoon super-duper stupid dads to the increasingly rare TV “sainted” dads. Sorry, Bill Cosby, but it’s probably for the best.)

Dads today face enough expectations, without piling on mythical, fictional lore.

Fathers of yore weren’t out and about, their sweet baby Snugli-secure against their chest as they picked up some fresh veggies for the dinner they were going to prepare.

Such scenes, witnessed daily, help cement modern fatherhood in our minds. They are reflected in fun fictional depictions, such as those in the TV sitcom “Modern Family.” In that show, fathers father through love and error, and humor, and more error and more love, etc. It’s the little moments — which add up to big influence — that ring true, just as in life.

It’s wonderful to see such fathers — on TV, in our families, and everywhere you look. They coach, they cook, they stay home, they go to work. They are young, they are older, they schedule “play dates,” and college campus visits. To see a good father in action is a gift not only to the child, but the observer.

In your neighborhood, for example, one September you might see a young father walking his sons — let’s say first-grader triplets and their older brother — to school. Holding hands, he carefully escorts them past a couple of could-be very busy entrances to a business along the way, and delivers them safely to school.

The next year dad again escorts the boys, but walks a little bit behind them. Somewhere in the middle of the year he walks half the way to school with his troops, and then stays at his place on the sidewalk and watches them make their way from there.

The following year, the older brother escorts the three younger ones exactly as dad did: Walking a little bit behind. Telling them to stop at the could-be busy entrances. Making sure it’s safe as the trio line themselves up in “let’s-race” fashion on the edge of the sidewalk. Giving the “Go!” command and following the triplets as they dart across to the other side.

It’s then that you see the father now lets them leave the house alone, and minutes later come out to the sidewalk to monitor their progress.

Unaware dad is still watching out for them, the brothers experience freedom, and responsibility. Dad is protecting and letting go at the same time.

Beautiful job.

Happy Father’s Day to all the good dads, and those trying to be.