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According to Parents Plus Kids

 According to Parents Plus Kids, a 2002 United States Justice Department article stated 39% of all jailed inmates came from fatherless homes. Fathers play a crucial role in a child’s life and can ultimately shape or decide how they will grow up and mature. Yes, they are not solely responsible for the development of that child, but they help aid that child be successful. In To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, Atticus Finch is a lawyer in his small rural county of Maycomb County, Alabama. The story takes place in the racist and prejudice south around the 1930s. 

Maycomb is a fictional town where most of the town is white. However, a small section of the county is home to the black community in the area. 

The black community is very impoverished and is not a place anyone ventures to unless you live there. Atticus spends a good part of the story representing Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a white woman. This accusation and trial are the central conflicts in the novel. As white folk seamlessly attack the black community and spill undeniable hate towards them. There is no evidence of Tom committing this act. However, the whole white community believes he did due to their prejudice and the tension between the two races in the town. 

Atticus is the father to Jem and Scout. 

Scout is a young girl who is very curious about the world and likes to explore and investigate things independently. 

Jem is Scout’s older brother, and he is always with Scout on her adventures. Scout narrates the story, so we get everything from her point of view. 

The reader gets a first-hand look at the type of father that Atticus is due to Scout being the narrator. Atticus is a great father to his children through the example he sets for them, the way he provides for them, and how he allows his children to experience the world. 

            Karen Stephens from Parent Exchange believes that “Children, in general, do grow up to be a lot like their parents” (Stephens). Atticus is the only parent after his wife’s death early on in Scout and Jem’s lives, so he is the sole parental role model in the house. Atticus models his kids to work hard and always stand up for what is right no matter the circumstances, along with how to treat anyone and everyone. He says, “I certainly am. I do my best to love everybody... I am hard put, sometimes—baby, it is never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name” (Lee 100). Atticus accepts being called an inappropriate name because he loves people of all colours and will not apologize for choosing to do so. This is him modelling to his children how to compose yourself in public along with the idea not to be afraid to stand up for what is right. Along with being a positive example for his children, he allows his children to explore and experience the world with little restriction. One of the many jobs for a parent is to prepare their child for the real world. 

Atticus allowing Scout and Jem to experience the world and make mistakes for themselves helps to prepare them for life in the future. Scout and Jem can learn real-world lessons and experience the natural world at a younger age and grow and mature quicker. Atticus also practices honesty with his kids. He feels that the best way for his kids to grow up is by hearing what is genuine and not talking to them the way a typical adult might since they are still young. An example of this is how Atticus does not shy away from discussing Tom’s case. He tells his children what is going on and how he feels he will do in the case. These are adult matters, but the children ask, and he feels it is in their best interest to tell them and talk to them like adults about this.  

Two of the critical factors in a minor’s success are what they have access to and how much care they are given. The more resources someone has and the more they are taken care of, the higher the chance of success. Atticus provides his children with the father they need and ends up being a mother figure in Calpurnia. Calpurnia is the black housekeeper that Atticus has hired and has kept around since Jem was born. Calpurnia gives the kids the strong female they need in their lives and takes care of the kids when Atticus is at work—having Calpurnia as the housekeeper allows the children to hear from a black woman and understand a little more of what people of colour must endure. Calpurnia takes the children to her church to experience a different culture and understand more of the black community in Maycomb County. This opportunity offers the Finch children a unique experience that no one else in their county that is white has. Atticus tries tirelessly to protect his children as he knows they will be potentially exposed to harm by the community. 

Atticus would rarely let his children come with him to Tom’s house because he knows they would be in potential danger. Atticus eventually gives in and lets the kids go with him to Tom’s house late in the book (Lee 219). He gives in and allows them to come, but he gives them strict rules to ensure their safety.

Atticus could be viewed as a bad parent. After all, he did put them in harm’s way by taking the Tom Robinson case in such a turbulent time in history. He takes the case and could be putting his children at risk. Atticus does let his children roam and do whatever they please, and he does not always keep an eye on them. Atticus is a good parent, however. Tom has Calpurnia at home watching over the kids. He also does an excellent job of not stirring the pot with the community to avoid drawing, even more hate towards him and his family. He does not bring them to his work, and he tries his best to keep them out of the whole trial, so they are not put in harm’s way. Scout and Jem are both prepared for the pushback due to Atticus telling them what will probably happen. “You might hear some ugly talk about it at school, but do one thing for me if you will: you just hold your head high and keep those fists down” (Lee 69). Atticus tells Scout what she can expect at school and helps prepare her. He understands the possible threat posed to his children, and he does his best to keep them informed on how to go about their business and what to do if faced with criticism. Thanks to Atticus’ parenting, his children can steer clear of danger. No harm is brought upon them by community members. Atticus cares deeply for his children and fathers them both very well.  

Atticus Finch is a great father. This is seen through the care he shows and provides for his children, how he allows his children to experience the world, and the example he sets for his children. Atticus is the definition of a good, honest, and wise man. He stands up for what is right in the face of heavy resistance. Atticus models being caring and loving to everyone. The very even-kill attitude and calm of Atticus are never lost throughout the novel. He can remain calm and not give in to anger and violence, even though many people might have done just that if they were put into his position. He does not give in to the anger and threats that could bring more harm to his family if he were to give in. He accepts being cursed at, name-called, and hated by many in the community, but he never stirs the pot. Scout and Jem both can model themselves after Atticus. Many of Scout and Jem’s peers have a much better role model and have much better parenting thanks to Atticus. Scout and Jem can be raised in a prejudice-free household and can be educated on pressing issues. Atticus allows his children to mature and grow by allowing them to be free and experience the world for themselves. The two can go out and make mistakes on their own and learn from them. This freedom allows them to be a step ahead of their peers who do not get the opportunity to make memories and learn lessons for themselves in the real world. 

Throughout the story, it is evident Scout and Jem are the priority of Atticus; he makes sure they are always safe and looks out for their best interest. All of these examples, qualities, and decisions that Atticus makes would align with a good father.   


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