by Nick Bridwell
One of my favorite things about my dad is his ability to tell a good story. Take this gem bestowed upon me by Rickey: “When I was a kid, maybe in middle school, we kept having these punk kids drive down the street and run over our mailbox. Well, one day, Papa decides to set up a cedar post, but fill it with cement and anchor it down about four feet in the ground. The next time they tried to run it over, they wrapped the front of their car around the mailbox.” Talk about Dad Justice passed down through the ages. Anyway, here are five of my favorite Father & Son Stories Ever:
1. Big Fish
Big Fish by Daniel Wallace is about William Bloom, who has only ever connected to his father through the old man’s outlandish stories. As his father Edward dies in bed, it’s William’s turn to tell the stories. The book was adapted into a film by Tim Burton starring Albery Finney and Ewan McGregor. Watch it. Read it. Live it every day with your dad and your kids. Certain truths are hidden even in the biggest fish stories.
2. Road to Perdition
Road to Perdition might not initially reinforce the “turn the other cheek” perspective, but the graphic novel by Max Allan Collins, and the film adaptation directed by Sam Mendes and starring Tom Hanks, both show a dynamic relationship that evolves as father teaches son and the two grow to trust one another. The story also emphasises that not all fathers are perfect, but the best dads always do their best.
3. The Star Wars Saga
Star Wars is all about fathers and sons. There are the actual father/son combos (Darth Vader and Luke), surrogate father/sons (Qui-Gon to Obi-Wan; Obi-Wan to Anakin), and the wise mentorship of Yoda to…everyone. Just like our universe, the actions of the fathers in Star Wars often shape the lives of generations to come. Not only does Star Wars impart the importance of a strong father figure, but it embraces the fact that not all great fathers need be biological.
4. Batman and Robin
Bruce Wayne/Batman welcomed the first Robin, Dick Grayson, about a year after Batman himself debuted in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. Since then, Dick grew up into Nightwing, a solo hero, and Bruce has played father figure to two other young men (Jason Todd, Tim Drake) who wore the Robin costume, and one biological son, Damian Wayne, who has recently taken over the role. As much as the Batman saga is about fighting bad guys like the Joker and Two-Face, it’s also about fathers and sons and how to handle life’s challenges, how to communicate, lead, and follow. Bruce Wayne, having lost his own father, has spent the last 75 years shaping fine sons.
5. Dave and the Chipmunks
There may never be a more poignant metaphor for the father/son relationship than that of Dave Seville and his three Chipmunk sons. Dave is patient, caring, and often driven mad by the antics of Alvin. We see in Dave the sophistication mirrored in Simon, the quirkiness mirrored in Theodore, and the creativity of Alvin. Dave is an inspiration, because no matter how insane those little buggers make him, he never gives up on them and he always has a kindness in his heart. ALLLLLVIIIIIINNNNNN!
Maybe for Father’s Day this year, I’ll mail our own Dave Munson a copy of Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.
Those are some of my favorite father and son stories. What are yours?
If you like this list, check out Nick’s novel, The Ties That Bind, available here in paperback or ebook format. Nick’s book is very much about how fathers impact the lives of their sons, and how sons react to their fathers’ choices.