I grew up with The Cosby Show. Thursday nights on NBC.
It was must-see TV.
Now that I’m a dad I find myself identifying with Dr. Huxtable more and more. The show managed to capture so many commons things that happen in a family, I find myself remembering the show all the time.
Cliff was a dad with a bunch of kids at home going through mostly normal challenges. Each episode tackled a simple storyline of conflict that magically resolved in a happy ending hug or smile or laugh. Cliff and Clair were working parents doing the best that they could.
As I was reflecting on The Cosby Show a couple of things stuck out now that I’m a parent:
- The show was about Cliff’s family, not Cliff’s work. A recurring theme of the show was Cliff coming home after working all night, wanting to go to bed, but having to fight sleep to parent his kids.
- In the mid-1980s an African American male working as a successful OB-GYN in a major city would have been a big deal. The show wasn’t about that when it could have been. It was about Cliff’s family. (Of course, Bill Cosby was a very big deal and has been occasionally political.) And there were occasional episodes that showed his career, but the focus of the show was what happened in the house.
Your Kids and Your Career
As much as I’d like to think my kids care about what I do, my ministry and the things I do, they don’t care that much.
They know what I do. Since Kristen and I both work at home and our office is in our living room, they see me work. They sometimes even help out.
But I’m their dad and this is their house and we are a family. Dad’s job is really not important to them.
What is important to them is our family and our home and the stuff that happens there.
But this isn’t The Cosby Show…
- Things aren’t going to happen and resolve in a 22-minute episode.
- This is 2014 and not 1990. My office isn’t in our basement with a separate entrance, it’s in our living room. So my work happens on their “set.“
- Unlike Cliff, I can and want to have my kids be part of my work. Theo wasn’t going to go examine a patient. But Megan really can [and kind of likes] going out to a speaking gig with me.
- Maybe I don’t remember it from the show, but I sure second-guess myself all the time.
- It’s really, really hard to see your impact as a parent sometimes. You are so close to the action that incremental growth is sometimes impossible to recognize or celebrate.
- Ultimately, this is 24/7/365/Life. (24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year, for life. The Cosby Show was 1/1/40/8.