I thought it was a new concept of fathers trying to be as good as the father down the street. This entire “trying to keep up with the Joneses” phenomenon seemed to have begun in the late 1950s with Ward Cleaver. But many Leave it to Beaver fans look up to Ward as he is the ultimate father and there he was bemoaning his kids spending an inordinate amount of time at the Dennison house, simply because they had a backboard and Mr. Dennison was right out there playing with the kids and showing them a good time.
After a while, Ward was downright angry about losing his kids to another father in the neighborhood. He put a stop to that temporarily by installing his own backboard on the garage. Now the kids could play at their house and even better, he could go out to the driveway and show them his expertise of shooting the hook shot. But hey, kids just want to have fun. They don’t want parents budding in and showing them how to shoot a basketball. After making numerous shots, Eddie tells Mr. Cleaver how the coach doesn’t want them trying anything fancy. The kids eventually leave, at Eddie’s urging, and once again, Ward loses his kids to the household in the neighborhood that seems to have everything. Ward thinks that Mr. Dennison is a lucky guy.
A few days later, Ward sees Mr. Dennison at the country club. Mr. Dennison lets Ward in on a little secret about raising kids and as we find out, Ward wasn’t a miracle father to begin with. He learned from others. We Leave it to Beaver lovers should too.
Maybe you’re like me, a parent who tries his best, but simply feels like a failure at being a great parent or simply feels like successful parenting is the biggest endeavor ever. Do you secretly watch Leave it to Beaver to get some extra parenting tips?
Does watching the show and how well Ward does at being a father (at least most of the time) encourage you or depress you?
I’d love to know your thoughts below on how the show makes you feel about parenting and I’d love to hear stories on whether you ever tried being friends with your child and they just weren’t having it. We’re not called to be friends with our kids, just parents, but the temptation to be both is always there.