Little did I know until the last few days here that Bill Cosby and I apparently think very much alike when it comes to the methods of teaching particular life lessons to our offspring.
The episode of The Cosby Show in particular that brought it all home to me was one called “Lost Weekend,” in which Cliff and Clair Huxtable were going away for the entire weekend, and the only Huxtable child in the house that weekend was going to be son Theo.
Theo and a couple of his friends decided to throw a small party while the house was free from parents and other siblings, and it got way out of control with a couple hundred guests who happened to show up one way or another. The house was trashed, every possible part of the place was used for some kind of mischief. The living room itself was a disaster area. The place managed to get picked up and repaired, except for pages’ worth of items that were destroyed and needed to be replaced.
Cliff and Clair discovered what had happened while they were gone when they returned home, and Cliff slapped the coffee table in front of the couch only to have it collapse to the floor.
So, how did Cliff Huxtable handle it?
For those who’ve followed my blog for a while, you may remember a post I put up a week before Christmas, in which I asked my son Grant to write “the meat” of the blog post by imagining what life must be like for the homeless. It was asked of him in order to teach Grant a lesson in the value of money and how bad life can get when you don’t have any of “the green stuff.”
And he came through with flying colors. It was perhaps my most-read blog post yet, “A Day In The Life of a Homeless Person.” Kudos to Grant. If you want to read it again, look in the “Others’ stories” section to your right.
I swear, I did not have that episode of The Cosby Show in mind when I gave Grant that direction. The Cosby Show has long been one of my family’s favorite TV shows, and it’s the kind of values the Huxtables taught their children that we’ve embraced. Cosby/Cliff Huxtable taught how to be a father through some humor, some tough love, as much attention as he could possibly give, and so much more. But one thing he imparted most of all was this — a deep sense of caring for each individual child, even though they were each completely different individuals.
That’s a tough thing to master, if you really care as a father about taking on that job and doing it the right way. And sometimes, it seems, there aren’t nearly enough fathers who do care about doing it the right way.
Maybe part of my education in parenting through Bill Cosby came when, as a child, I would listen endlessly to one of his comedy albums, “I Started Out As a Child.” That got me started as a big Cosby fan. One of my favorite parts in that album had to do with a story Cosby told of his own father, called “The Giant.”
I’ve never forgotten that album. In fact, that exact same record album that I listened to repeatedly as a child is sitting on top of my turntable here at home right now. And it’s been sitting there for a couple of years. It still gets played by my own children. Maybe it’ll get passed on from generation to generation … along with the turntable. And the timeless philosophy that goes along with it.
Bill Cosby, I must say, you taught me well through the years! Thank you!
- Critic’s Notebook: Bill Cosby Appreciation and Screenings at Paley Center for Media (nytimes.com)
- Bill Cosby Has A Very, Very Important Message (huffingtonpost.com)
- Bill Cosby – Let’s learn from the best! (clipboards.wordpress.com)
- Paley Center for Media pays tribute to Bill Cosby’s career (thegrio.com)