In honour of Sunday – when dads everywhere take a break from the dusting – here is a list of dads, exemplary displayers of those many and varied virtues who have provided us all with a guide to life.
1. First Dad: Adam
The first dad had a particularly testing time. He was turfed out of paradise, he had a difficult relationship with his wife, and one of his sons killed the other one. Remember, too, that he had no best friend to complain to about them not understanding him.
2. Busy Dad: Genghis Khan
He fathered hundreds of children as he fought, rode, won and, how you say, relaxed his way across the vast plains of Asia in command of his fierce and fleet horsemen. Indeed, Russian scientists have estimated that he has no fewer than 16 million male descendants alive today, so keep a close eye on anyone you know who starts barking out orders, taking riding lessons and showing a disinclination to tolerate anyone sleeping in.
3. Relaxed Dad: Mr Bennet
The true hero of Pride and Prejudice, never happier than when he is in his library, alone, and not being bothered by anyone, especially Mrs Bennet and her marathon matchmaking mithering. Some of you will prefer Action Dad, showing you how to do this or that, with a lot of noise, and usually not doing it quite so well as he imagines. Others of us prefer Laidback Dad, ready, just about, if called upon, but much preferring to let you learn for yourself, which also means, conveniently, that he can get on with what he wants to do himself.
4. Good Dad: David Cameron
Some men forget all about their children, then unaccountably and suddenly remember them when they win the lottery. Poor David Cameron has only to make a minor slip and the world descends on his head. Consider, though, the complex dad-multi-tasking that must have led to this dad-blip. In there with two other families, deeply concerned about Europe's finances while at the same time trying to split the lunch bill three ways with appropriate reductions for extra chips: no wonder it all went horribly wrong. And, being a Good Dad, there's been no attempt to spin this one: no suggestion he had left her as a deposit or for work experience. No attempt, either, to subtly shift attention to Mrs Cameron: for this is the deal: every so often "Head of the Family" means more than those helpful tips on childcare to one's partner.
5. The Father of the Prodigal Son
The spendthrift of his inheritance who ended up broke and a swineherd before coming home and offering to work as a servant. And this dad, heroic in the way of dads, resisted the temptation to say, "Well, well, if it isn't Flash Boy," "What's that smell?", or, "Work as a servant? You're having a laugh!". No, he forgave him, told him he loved him and did the Israelite equivalent of sending out for pizzas all round, with extra toppings. Then the older brother, who'd stayed at home, working, started complaining about this reward for bad behaviour, in the way brothers do; and this dad said he still loved him, too, and that his inheritance was safe. All dads love this parable. They particularly admire the skill, economy and wisdom which led Jesus Christ to remain silent about what happened the next morning when it was time to get up and all that was evident of the both of them was the usual loud snoring and not a jot of the washing up had been done. And silent, too, about exactly what their mother said to the pair of them.
6. Most Unorthodox Dad: The father of a Boy Named Sue
7. Most Predictable Dad (often not in a good way): Homer Simpson8. Most Awesome Dad: Darth Vader
(also gets Coolest Dressed Dad and Best Not Rubbed Up Wrong Way Dad Or He'll Chop Your Hand Off).
9. Most Interestingly Named Dad: Neville Neville
The father of Gary and Phil.
10. Best Dad who was also Pope: Alexander VI
Father of Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia (and at least six more).
Finally, Most Affecting Dad Story: After President Kennedy's assassination, his young son, John, asked a visitor to his home: "Are you a daddy?". The man said he was. "Then will you throw me up in the air?" asked John.
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