It’s been almost 30 years since the Huxtable family entered our homes through the wildly popular television series, The Cosby Show. Through the years, we watched them grow and change as we developed our favorite characters and moments – some more memorable than others. There is no disputing that most Americans feel that Bill Cosby, aka Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, was the greatest television dad of all time – an opinion with which Time magazine and TV Week both agree.
He was brutally honest, but always sincere. He was strict, but fair. Responsible, but silly. Tough, but tender. And, above all, he loved his family and he made us laugh while doing it. So in honor of Father’s Day, here are 10 lessons we learned by watching everybody’s favorite TV Dad, Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, as told by some of the most memorable Cosby moments.
10. No 14-Year-Old Boy Should Have A $95 shirt unless He’s On Stage With His 4 Brothers
When Theo unveiled his designer shirt that be bought to impress a girl with his dad’s credit card, Dr. Huxtable was none-too-impressed with Theo’s sense of entitlement. “I don’t even have a $95 shirt and I have a job,” he said, reminding kids everywhere that just because you can buy something, doesn’t mean you should. With the new generation of Millennials being touted as the most entitled generation ever, this is one lesson a lot of people could stand to relearn.
9. When Someone Yells “Challenge!” You Accept
It doesn’t matter if you know you’re going to fail. Dr. Huxtable taught us that when someone challenges you to a battle of wits, you accept and you give it your all. Because most of the time showing up is half of the battle and you don’t always have to be the best, you just have to be the last man standing.
8. Bacon Burger Dogs Cure Everything
No one can make a bacon burger dog quite the way Dr. Huxtable made a bacon burger dog. But that shouldn’t stop you from trying, since The Cosby Show taught us its not only the best barbecue food on the face of the earth, but also a cure-all for the most challenging of days.
7. Dance Like No One Is Watching
Everybody learned a dance move or two from Dr. Huxtable. A trademark of the show, Bill Cosby got down and funky in every intro of every season and in the majority of episodes in only the way that Bill Cosby can do. But more than the dance moves, he taught everyone that life is short. Be silly, dance like no one is watching, and have a blast doing it.
6. Dessert Is Worth Lying For
Dr. Huxtable was remarkably disciplined. He graduated medical school and ran his own practice, he was actively present in parenting all five of his children (along with some of their parents and their kids) and he never lost his cool. But everyone has a weakness and junk food was his. Especially chocolate cake. But we learned that it’s okay to have an innocent vice when you work so hard at everything else. Eventually, everyone needs a piece of chocolate cake.
5. Only Have Kids If You’re Okay With Never Having Peace And Quiet Ever Again
We learned pretty fast while watching The Cosby Show that having a big family can be an awesome experience. So when you’re ready to have kids, prepare to have a blast. But also prepare yourself to be surrounded by them every day, all day, for the rest of your life – or, at best, for the next two decades. But as we also learned from Dr. Huxtable – even when you think they’ve left, they always come back.
4. Your Parents’ Stuff Is Not Your Stuff
When Vanessa complained that the girls at school were teasing her for being a spoiled rich girl, she blamed her parents by saying, “This never would have happened if we weren’t so rich.” To which Dr. Huxtable made sure to remind her, “Let’s get something straight. Your mother and I are rich. You? Have nothing.”
3. Every Kid Deserves A Knee Ride
Whether it’s a lap ride, a piggy-back ride, an airplane – it doesn’t matter, every kid likes a good fly through the air or bounce on the knee. But being the awkward kid in the room can mean you don’t get too many of them. Dr. Huxtable not only gave the greatest knee rides ever, but he made sure every kid got one.
2. The Cost Of Living Is Way Higher Than You Thought It Was Going To Be
Most high schoolers spend their teenage years fantasizing about the day they’re finally about to leave home and live on their own. Freedom can be pretty enticing. But it doesn’t take long before the bills start rolling in: rent, utilities, gas, your phone, internet that you’re not stealing from your neighbor who still hasn’t figured out password protection – it adds up fast. Add a girlfriend on top and it’s gone, making you realize just how good you had it at home all along.
1. Never Settle For Mediocrity
When Theo asked his father to accept the fact that he got D’s in school and that he wanted to be a garbage man when he grew up because he was just “regular people,” Dr. Huxtable didn’t hesitate to tell him “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!” Instead, he reminded Theo that he was, in fact, just too afraid to try harder because he was afraid that his brains were going to ooze out of his ears. Too often, too many of us don’t try nearly as hard as we should – maybe it’s laziness, maybe it’s fear. But either way, we should all be so lucky to have a dad there to remind us when we don’t live up to our own potential that he brought us into this world, and he can take us out.