Fathers can be ‘Courageous’

‘I want to be that kind of dad.”

If the thousands of boys and young men who go to the theater this weekend and in the coming weeks to see the film “Courageous” say something similar or even think it to themselves, then the latest production by Sherwood Pictures could have a lasting positive influence on the lives of people.

Jim McBride, an executive producer for the movie that was shot in Albany, said he heard those words uttered by a 9-year-old boy during an early screening of the film, who opened on 1,280 screens nationwide Friday.

Coming on the heels of the successful “Fireproof,” “Courageous” deals with law enforcement officers who are called on to balance the requirements and responsibilities of their jobs with their responsibilities as fathers. The focus of the story is on a sheriff’s deputy who has trouble coping with a tragedy in his life and his journey to find a balance between his job and his family life.

The jobs of the characters are law enforcement, but the struggle to be a good father is one to which men of any occupation can relate.

Producer and co-scriptwriter Stephen Kendrick, earlier this year in an appearance before the Dougherty County Commission to obtain permission to shoot scenes on local government property, told commissioners that fatherhood is “an important issue that many in Dougherty county, the state and the rest of the country are coping with right now.”

And it is especially critical in Dougherty County, where far too many children are being born into homes where there is no father or male mentor. The importance of a father in the home has been confirmed time and time again. A child is less likely to live in poverty or get into trouble if there is a strong, caring father in the house.

That’s not the image, of course, that you see in most entertainment media these days. Fathers are more likely to be portrayed as comic buffoons whose wives and children out maneuver them at every turn. It’s nice to see a feature film in which fatherhood is addressed thoughtfully and more accurately. It is also good to see the portrayal of strong Christian values, something that is hardly seen on TV or in the theaters these days.

Early indications were that “Courageous” would have a strong opening weekend at the box office. More than $2 million in advance tickets had been pre-sold before the doors opened Friday, and the film also opened Friday in Canada. About 3,000 people showed up for an early screening last month in August.

What we should all hope is that those men who go through the turnstiles walk out with a commitment to be better dads, and that boys and youths who see the film are impressed and grow up to be good fathers themselves.

The words of that little boy quoted by Jim McBride say it all.