Father Knows Best. But only in the 50’s and 60’s world of radio and TV sitcoms. Robert Young played the father who would come home from work and solve the family’s problems. He’d offer advice and the show would have a happy ending. The show and others like it portrayed an ideal world that never existed, then or now. Father Knows Best took place in the Springfield, I wonder if it is the same Springfield of the Simpsons. We know that the Simpsons are pure fiction, but many of us grew up watching Father Knows Best and believed that the family’s problems would be solved in 30 minutes or less.
My father came home with problems that as a pre-teen I didn’t know existed. I remember getting our first car (used) and a TV well after all my friends. My mother worked, none of the other mothers worked. I lived on the wrong side of Clinton Avenue during high school and was clueless as to how the “other” side lived. Many years later I told an acquaintance that we were so poor I didn’t even know what I missed growing up. My father’s problem was a gambling debt that created financial hardships that caused my mother to work at a time when most women stayed home. Even after this situation was eliminated my mother continued to work as hedge against future problems.
There were many other fathers who came home drunk, violent, depressed or with an assortment of work or life related problems. Granted many came home just tired from a long hard day at work. They brought these problems home with them with little expectation of a waiting solution. These fathers come home to problems and didn’t have a clue how to solve them.
Mothers never come home in either fantasy Springfield. Many women of that era stayed at home with problems and struggled with them. Solutions are elusive and we hope for someone to show up with wisdom and a quick solution.
Life is full of problems. Problems can’t be pushed away. If left unresolved they can grow into monsters that rule our lives. Rather than wait for a knight in shinning armor we need to face them ourselves. We can seek assistance or advice but we must face life and what comes with it. Life belongs to us. It is our life and we are responsible for resolving the issues. Sometimes we can fix things, other times we need to adjust and accept. We need the foresight to figure when to hold or fold.
I prefer to replace the word “problems” with life situations which sounds less ominous and some what more hopeful. It may sound like I am fantasying life with my hopeful and upbeat attitude. Iris sometimes thinks that I ignore issues and hope they go away. Perhaps on occasion that is true but I think that I know things will work out, in my own 50’s vision of Father Knows Best.
KISS: Keep inventing skillful solutions.
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