16 June 2022

Father's Day: Why Phil is my favourite TV father

Omolara Olusola

Ty Burrell, the actor who plays Phil Dunphy in 'Modern Family'
Ty Burrell played dad Phil Dunphy in 'Modern Family'
A Father's Day thought from this week's War Cry by Omolara Olusola.

For those of us who use social media, it is almost that time again when arguments about parental figures break out.

Inevitably, on Father’s Day someone will post a picture of their mother or a maternal figure and will wish them a happy Father’s Day. Another person will take umbrage and say that we should let fathers have their day. Unfortunately, discussions are likely to turn heated.

Elsewhere on the internet there will be polls and opinion pieces about favourite TV dads, such as Philip Banks (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air), Jack Pearson (This is Us), Michael Kyle (My Wife and Kids) and, my personal favourite, Phil Dunphy in the US sitcom Modern Family. These fictional characters remind us that father-child relationships can be loving, beautiful and attentive, but also messy, strained and complicated.

It’s easy for us to project our desires, disappointments and expectations on to TV characters or other people. In them, we recognise our hopes and heartbreaks.

A photo of a father holding their child's hand

Developmental psychologists explain that an early indicator of emotional health and growth can be found in how babies bond with their carers. This is called attachment theory: babies form secure attachments to the person who accurately anticipates and meets their needs. Great relationships can make us feel secure and set us up to be confident in who we are.

Phil Dunphy is my favourite TV dad because he is consistent, dependable and brings his family joy. He is a good dad.

One Bible writer reminds us that God, too, is a good dad. James said: ‘Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father’ (James 1:17 New Living Translation).

God and his love are constant, fixed and unwavering. It gives me comfort to know that, in and among all the complications of human relationships, there is security to be found in him.

For all of us, no matter how we are feeling about ourselves or our families, we need never miss out on a heavenly Father’s love.

Written by

Omolara Olusola

Omolara Olusola

Writer, War Cry

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