Lazy, Drunk, Stupid ..but Homer's Still the World's Best Dad

The Mirror (London, England), February 5, 2002 | Go to article overview

Lazy, Drunk, Stupid ..but Homer's Still the World's Best Dad


Byline: Interview by EMMA HIBBS

HE'S the head of a famously dysfunctional family, he's a drunk, and he's far too fat - he's even been vilified by former President George Bush.

But this week DR KRIS JOZAJTIS, a lecturer in religious and film studies at Stirling University, will urge teachers to use Homer Simpson as a role model for children.

Here Kris, a father of four, reveals how Homer is shaping young morals - for the better.

HOMER Simpson is a great dad to his three children. As our youngsters grow up in a world where image is everything, Homer is an antidote to the superficial.

He isn't bothered what he looks like or what people think about him - he simply cares about his family and trying to do the right thing.

For instance, in one episode of The Simpsons, Homer's son Bart comes home from school moaning that he doesn't get all the computer games that his friends do.

Many parents today will understand just what that pressure is like.

But rather than dashing out and trying to offset his parental guilt with expensive presents, Homer makes his son laugh by clowning around.

By doing that, he shows he is able to give Bart what all children want more than anything - time and attention.

He also impresses upon his child that there is more to life than material goods.

Homer, a manual labourer in a nuclear power plant, is an individualist who teaches his kids not to worry too much about what others think of them.

He manages to chart his own course to avoid peer group pressure.

One of the ways he stands out from the crowd is by refusing to go to church. In one episode he skips Sunday service and has the best day of his life, while his wife Marge, fearful for his soul, prays fervently for him.

Then Homer sees God in a dream and says: "I'm a good man, I care about my kids - why do I have to go to church and be told I'm going to hell?"

God agrees with him and says: "You've got a point there."

Homer has proved it is possible to be good without having to go to church.

To his kids - Bart, Lisa and Maggie - and to children everywhere, Homer shows the right thing to do is to act from your heart.

The Simpson family have often been described as dysfunctional by politicians, moral campaigners and pundits.

This seems to be based on Bart's rebelliousness and Homer's love of beer and TV. But the fact that the Simpson family is not perfect is what makes them so influential for our children.

They are a family with real failings who have real problems just like the rest of us. And, just like the rest of us, they try to muddle through.

Homer's concern for his children's worries, however minor, is something many of us busy parents could do well to emulate.

In one episode, Lisa doesn't get the part she wants in the school play. Homer helps her realise that every part is important, however small.

That's what life's about. Making children appreciate we all have a role to play in society however great or small.

There is also strong communication within the Simpson family, something often missing in our hectic real lives. …

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