If you’re only a fan of the Marvel movies and not the comics, then you may not know that Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) was actually a father, to Howard Anthony Stark II.  And of course Ned Stark is one of television and literature’s most beloved fathers these days in Game of Thrones.  But what does being a father have to do with both of these two made up characters?  Art imitates life, so most likely we are one of these types of fathers but it’s figuring out who we’re realistically similar to and if we aren’t being the father we want to be then this is our opportunity to instead let life imitate art.

Ok, this reputation is a little tempting.

Don’t Marvel, Be Marvelous – Tony Stark is one of Marvel’s most admired characters.  Not because he’s Iron Man but because he has the bachelor life we’ve all dreamed about and desired at one point or another.  Who wouldn’t want his sharp wit and quick sense of humor, not to mention the riches, ladies, and toys that he has at his disposal? Unfortunately his other personality traits wouldn’t get us far with being an effective and caring father because his sarcastic demeanor and disparaging attitude overshadows anything he may have going on for him.  In fact, his self-destructive tendencies and narcissistic nature does a better job at alienating others rather than attracting them.  None of these things will allow us to have the bond between us and our children that will assist them in finding value in themselves and if anything it will either start or continue a cycle of not knowing how to receive love so that they later cannot give love when they have their own family.

If any of this sounds familiar, and you yourself have been affected by the same type of mannerisms in a father, now is the time to recognize it and to do something effective with regard to it.  Seeking help from a professional somebody, to repair what was damaged by someone else, can assist you in breaking the cycle and is nothing to be ashamed of.  You didn’t have this happen to you on your own, it’s an effect from a greater cause, so it’s nearly impossible to work through it on your own, too.

If you haven’t had a horrible experience with your father but you’re still acting like that selfish bachelor then think about those who I just addressed above and think if you would ever want your child reading and identifying with that paragraph.  Seriously, reread it if you have to with your child in mind.

Stay calm and don’t lose your head.

Be-Head of Your Family – Game of Thrones’ Wiki page is quoted saying Ned Stark is, “a dedicated husband and father, a loyal friend and an honorable lord.”  Imagine having that on your tombstone one day.  What exactly makes up a man like this?  He’s affectionate towards his children (including illegitimate son, Jon Snow, and his ward, Theon Greyjoy).  He can be found throughout the series patiently teaching his children life lessons that he knows they otherwise wouldn’t have known instinctually and instead would have allowed emotions and pride to control their choices.  Ned is 100% a loving and faithful husband, and that’s to a woman who was arranged to be his wife, not one he chose freely.  He takes responsibility for his actions yet doesn’t take himself too serious in that he’ll joke with his men and dines with his servants.  How many of us would actually do that if given the lifestyle and choice?

Choose wisely.

Iron Throne over Iron Man – What we should be striving for is to leave our children with an ironclad legacy of what being a father means and not an ironhearted facade that is merely a shell of a man. We do this by showing affection vs hiding emotions, respecting them vs disregarding them, building them up vs tearing them down.  (SEMI-SPOILER ALERT) Sure, we all know what ultimately happens to Ned Stark but all of us, if ever presented with sacrificing ourselves for the protection of our family, sure as hell better do it.  We would only be so lucky to exit this earth leaving behind some of the kind of children Ned Stark did but even more so, we would only be so lucky as to leave this earth with the reputation of being a great father.