Being Phil Dunphy

A kid throws a basketball repeatedly on the head of a fully grown man. Every time the ball, bouncing off his head, misses the hoop. But the duo does not give up. They want to make this video go viral. Instead, the video of a stupid man getting hit on the face repeatedly with a basketball goes viral.

Meet Phil Dunphy, the stupid man from the video. The kid who throws the ball at him is his son, Luke. Phil is a realtor, loving husband and an amazing dad of 3. But, his wife always complains that she has 4 kids to look after – Haley, Alex, Luke and of course, Phil.

Phil is a cool dad. His favorite hobby is to do crazy stupid fun stuff with Luke. Whether it is building a tree house or playing Quidditch or walking on a tightrope many feet above the ground because his son simply inspired him to do it, Phil is the best dad you could ask for. He is all about spontaneity combined with childish excitement. When Luke combines many Oreos together to make a foot-long giant one, Phil does ask him what he is doing, not accusingly, but rather suggesting a better way: you gotta eat it like it’s an ear of corn!

Apart from embracing his inner child, it is another quality that makes Phil special to me: effort. The amount of effort he puts in to make special moments with his family is simply heartwarming. He tries hard to build a special bond with his teenage kids. Once he spent an entire day trying to make sure that he could create a lasting memory with Alex. But when all his effort inadvertently flops, Alex asks him why he is acting all weird. He says:

Phil Dunphy: I wanna be Eugene Cernan.

Alex Dunphy: Who’s Eugene Cernan?

Phil Dunphy: Apollo 17 astronaut, last man on the moon, coolest dad of all time. When he was leaving the moon he reached out and wrote his daughter’s initials in the lunar surface. Since there’s no atmosphere..

Alex Dunphy: ..they’ll be there forever. Wow, so every time she looks in the sky she knows there’s a message just for her.

Phil is the kind of dad who wants to etch every moment with his family on the moon.

I aspire to be Phil Dunphy. He is not perfect. He has many insecurities. He always looks for recognition from his father-in-law. He cannot fire any of his employees for the fear of hurting their feelings. But his greatness lies in embracing these insecurities. He confronts them even if that means letting others know that he is weak and emotional. He becomes sad for his daughter’s boyfriend when she breaks up with him because he knows how much it pains. He makes an effort to cheer him up, makes an effort to bond with his father-in-law, makes an effort to spend time with his family.

Being Phil Dunphy is not easy. It takes courage to admit weaknesses, innocence to do stupid fun stuff with his son  and grace to be an amazing husband. When Phil, the king of roller-coasters, gets upset about being old when he feels dizzy riding a roller-coaster, Luke consoles: “Even if you are old and in a wheelchair, I will take you to the mall and push you as fast as you wanna go”. Isn’t that the best thing a son can offer to such an amazing dad?



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