Too often these days, TV depicts fathers (if a dad is in the picture at all) as either tyrannical or dimwitted -- but it doesn't have to be that way.
Having a supportive father is a vital element in childhood development, and TV can do its part in reflecting this reality.
The new family series Ruby and the Well, premiering Feb. 27 at 9 p.m. ET on BYUtv, depicts a special relationship between 14-year-old Ruby O’Reilly (Zoe Wiesenthal), and her recently widowed father, Daniel (Kristopher Turner).
The two move to their ancestral hometown of Emerald to take over the family apple orchard. There, Ruby discovers a magical well that shows her unfulfilled wishes.
In the tradition of her family, she becomes the keeper of the wishes. It's her duty to do what she can to make them come true for the townspeople.
When told their daughter has a magical well, most fathers would belittle the situation or tell her it is nonsense. But not Daniel. He trusts his daughter.
Even though the situation seems far-fetched, he realizes she is not lying and goes along with her determination to help the people the well shows her.
While Ruby fulfills the wishes of the people in the town, Daniel fulfills Ruby’s wish to set down roots and make this their final move.
While she might be the keeper of the well and others’ wishes, he is the keeper of the family and his daughter’s wish.
Unfortunately, the small screen seldom portrays this kind of wholesome paternal relationship.
Ideally, fathers must be supportive of their children. When looking back at some fathers on TV, Danny Tanner (played by the late Bob Saget) from Full House comes to mind.
He is a considerate dad who patiently listens to his daughters’ concerns. He is still considered one of the greatest TV dads.
Mike Brady in the classic sitcom The Brady Bunch is another example of a patient, loving dad. He always had time to talk to his kids whenever they needed his advice.
He was not dismissive, yet he did have a stern hand when it came to doling out punishment. He knew that kids need discipline yet was always caring and never cruel when relating to the kids.
The popularity of the YouTube channel’s Dad How Do I? is an example of how kids need their father’s – or father figure’s - help and support.
Whether it’s teaching older kids how to check the tire pressure of a car or reading a story to younger ones, Christian dad Rob Kenney (Editor's note: we interviewed him, read it here) relates to young people on their own level without talking down to them.
Parenting is difficult at best, and having portrayals of good parents on TV is important so kids and their parents see positive relationships between fathers and kids.
Mothers are usually depicted as the most caring and understanding parent, so seeing a father take over that role is refreshing.
Daniel and Ruby have substantial conversations, and neither one is rude or dismissive to the other.
Ruby and the Well is a good depiction of how a father and daughter interact with love and consideration, and viewers should embrace that.
Beginning with the Feb. 27 premiere on BYUtv's cable channel, all 10 episodes can be streamed on that day via the BYUtv app and at BYUtv.org.
BYUtv, which is owned and operated by Brigham Young University (itself owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), has already announced a second season for Ruby and the Well.
"At BYUtv, we are always looking for the elusive combination of intriguing entertainment that also inspires, and Ruby and the Well delivers on the promise of both elements," said Andra Johnson Duke, head of content at BYUtv.
"Watching it will make every member of the family want to go out and grant wishes themselves, making the world a better place like Ruby.
"It has been a wish-come-true collaboration to work with Shaftesbury to develop this show from the minds of the creators of [the BYUtv series] Dwight in Shining Armor."