Need Help? Don't Ask the Internet; Go Ask Dad

I guess I just don’t watch enough television, because I missed a TV commercial put out by Gillette pegged to Father’s Day. Fortunately for me, after hearing about it, I found it on YouTube.

Gillette set up a kind of contest between fathers and the internet. They asked teenage boys from different countries to learn certain tasks using the internet as their source of information. Their assignments included frying an egg, asking a girl out on a date, and learning to shave.

It’s fun to watch the teens as they attempt to master each undertaking while watching instructional videos. And even more fun—and heartwarming—when their dads come in to help.

You can watch the commercial, which they called “Go Ask Dad,” here:


Writing in The Atlantic, W. Bradford Wilcox spells out some of the distinct contributions fathers make to their children’s lives. Sadly, in a world whether single motherhood is no big deal and fathers are often no more than sperm donors, it’s necessary to recognize the important role dads play in their children’s lives.

Wilcox writes that the way fathers play with their children is not only different from mothers, but important to kids. “From a Saturday morning spent roughhousing with a four-year-old son to a weekday afternoon spent coaching middle-school football, fathers typically spend more of their time engaged in vigorous play than do mothers, and play a uniquely physical role in teaching their sons and daughters how to handle their bodies and their emotions on and off the field.”

Then there’s risk-taking. While mothers tend to focus on children’s safety, “fathers are more likely to encourage their children to take risks, embrace challenges, and be independent…”

On the subject of discipline, Wilcox cites the book Partnership Parenting, co-authored by child psychiatrist Kyle Pruett and psychologist Marsha Kline Pruett. “Fathers tend to be more willing than mothers to confront their children and enforce discipline, leaving their children with the impression that they in fact have more authority,” they write.

What Wilcox called “high quality” relationships between fathers and children correlated with lower delinquency rates for boys, decreased teen pregnancy rates for girls, and less depression for both teenage boys and girls.

Fathers matter, and not just when it comes to learning how to tie a tie.