As we spend the day celebrating our great Dads with backyard cookouts, ties, and golf balls, I thought I’d take a moment to highlight one of the greatest (arguably THE greatest) fathers in literature: Atticus Finch. I’m sure many of you remember reading about the great Atticus in Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird in your high school English classes. No doubt, as with many great works picked apart in a classroom, the brilliance of this work may have escaped you at the time. If you haven’t read about Atticus, Scout, Jem, Dill, and Boo Radley since you were sitting at a desk, I encourage you to give the book another go.
To Kill a Mockingbird is told through the eyes of young Scout Finch, a tomboy for the ages, who’s view of the world around her is challenged and forever altered as she watches her Father, Atticus, struggle to protect and uphold social equality, justice, and human decency. We see how Atticus cares for and shields his children, while also making them think about the bigger picture. Indeed, Atticus sets a stellar example for how to be a fair and decent person in a world that is decidedly unfair more often than not. But more than that, I think Atticus gives his children a sense of hope…a sense that when given half a chance, people can surprise you for the better.
This book can be a challenging read as it doesn’t shy away from tough subject matter, but in the end, it is really about a father trying to set the best example for his kids. And really, isn’t that what all the best fathers do? So today, as you honor the fathers in your life, take a moment and spend a little time with Atticus too.
P.S.- Tonight at 8pm, Turner Classic Movies (easily my favorite television channel) is showing the movie of To Kill a Mockingbird as part of their Essentials, Jr. programming. The movie stars Gregory Peck as Atticus and is a fantastic adaptation of the book! I know I’ll be watching…