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The role of father

Pay attention next time you see a family depicted on a contemporary television sitcom or commercial. How is the father portrayed? Most likely, the show's family patriarch doubles as the family dimwit.

Over the decades, the "dad as buffoon" character has become a comedy cliché in advertising and television. Viewers know the formula well: Mom and the kids do the best they can to make the family work despite the bumblings, ramblings and clueless actions (or inactions) of husband and father.

Amid myriad sensitivities and taboos of the day, fathers remain a safe target for ridicule and laughs — an easy punch line. Once, television dads were portrayed idealistically as reliable and wise — a household anchor. Today, they are typically marginalized, merely tolerated or entirely ignored. "Father Knows Best" has been pre-empted by "Father Knows Nothing."

Even as popular media seem to be typecasting dads as second-class parents, Church leaders describe a far different role for "the man of the house" in Latter-day Saint households. Fathers, they declare, remain relevant and essential. They are irreplaceable bearers of the priesthood who can, and should, bless their families through inspired counsel, loving support and their own faithful examples.

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