I’ve never so much as walked into a Harley-Davidson dealership, but I can still learn something from “Sons of Anarchy.”
For those immune to motorcycles, gun-running and the feisty Katey Sagal, the FX series follows a biker club as it tries to survive in modern California. The Sons of Anarchy may drink, commit adultery and break laws – and heads – with alacrity, but when they retire for the day they cling to each other like any family might.
That bonding still doesn’t make it the modern version of “Father Knows Best.” In fact, you could force your teen son or daughter to watch the show as a primer on how not to live one’s life. Yet a closer look yields a few sobering lessons dads can take away from the addictive drama.
1. Forge Alliances: The Sons have a special relationship with certain police officers. These cops look the other way when the Sons break the law. Dads shouldn’t take up vigilantism or gun running, but it sure helps to make friends in the right places. Be nice to the co-worker who can back you up if you’re battling a stubborn boss. Make friends with the post office clerk, and chances are he or she can do you a solid when it’s time to mail that important package.
2. Family Comes First: Few of the Sons are related by blood. That doesn’t matter when the bullets start flying or a club member needs a hand. They have each other’s back. Always. One thing Mommylibrium taught me is the value of friends in our own social circle, and how the very best of ‘em can count as family.
3. Think Ahead Three Moves: Clay, the leader of the biker gang played by the great Ron Perlman, isn’t content with putting out today’s fires. He’s always thinking how his actions will impact the days and weeks ahead. Dads should do the same. Sure, letting your kid skip brushing his teeth might make putting him to bed a bit easier one night, but do it too often and you’ll set up an enamel-based confrontation down the road.
4. Honesty Matters: The “old ladies” who love our bad-boy bikers need to know what they’re in for when they date a “Son.” Sudden deaths. Late night phone calls. Endless stubble. Dads should take a page from the Sons when dealing with their spouses. ‘Fess up, and know whatever sins you’ve committed pale compared to what Kim Coates’ Tig did on any given episode.
5. It Sometimes Does Take a Village: The first season of “Anarchy” finds Jax (Charlie Hunnam) becoming a first-time father. He’s hardly ready for the gig, but he’s got a team to cover for him. It’s hardly an ideal scenario for lil’ Abel, but Jax is smart enough to let his friends and family help him raise his son. Dads everywhere should allow their own support team lend a hand when necessary. Have an aunt who can’t wait to babysit your monsters? A friend who keeps offering to help you make a date night happen? Say yes. Often.
Note: I had a similar reaction watching the equally unsuitable for kiddies show “The Walking Dead” ...