25 years later, The Simpsons writer Josh Weinstein has just admitted that he only recently understood the meaning of one of Homer’s most iconic lines. Homer’s quote about his towel didn’t make much sense considering he has almost no hair, but despite his lack of acumen, the cartoon father has a lot of hands-on experience when it comes to parenting, as he honed his skills with Bart, Lisa and Maggie in The Simpsons season 33.
Homer’s parenting style may be unconventional, and he’s not always the best guardian or role model, but somehow he always seems to be giving valuable life lessons to his children, even if by accident. Father’s Day is just around the corner, and it’s the right time to revisit the best examples of Homer’s parenting wisdom.
Homer on empathy
“Lisa, just because I don’t care doesn’t mean I don’t understand.”
This classic homerism accurately describes the relationship of the patriarch of The Simpsons with his middle child. Lisa is probably wiser and emotionally mature than Homer, who is often bored by his daughter’s interests and the things she is passionate about.
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However, Homer struggles to establish contact with his daughter, including when he is not himself. Whether she’s talking about her vegetarianism, feminism, or love of the environment, Homer wants Lisa to be able to confide in him, even if he doesn’t give a damn about the subject. This father-daughter duo balances each other, and together they manage to solve even the biggest dilemmas of Lisa’s childhood.
Homer on ambition
“Trying is the first step to failure.”
This is another piece of advice that may seem heartless at first glance, but in fact it is absolutely true. Homer doesn’t want his kids to think they’re going to make it. No one does it, and it’s an unrealistic goal.
In failures, an important lesson should be learned. Failure and retry require fortitude. Managing expectations is crucial, and it’s something Homer does well after years of learning from his own mistakes. He may seem too direct with his children, but he prepares them for life in the real world and, like any good parent, also applauds their successes when they finally achieve their goals. Homer’s humorous and timeless advice ranks The Simpsons among the most reviewed sitcoms on television.
Homer on parenting
“The key to parenting is not to overdo it. Because rethinking leads to… what were we talking about?”
Homer makes things simple, and it shows in the way he fathers. Homer is lucky because his refusal to think too much about things often accidentally creates deep lessons for his children.
Bart, Lisa and Maggie watch as their father tries countless get-rich-quick schemes, none of which work. The Beer Baron, Mr. Plow, the sugar salesman who sold used fat, and all his other business ideas fail because Homer doesn’t think them through to the end. But in each case, he and his children learn an important lesson as an unintended result of his poor planning. For Homer, insufficient thinking is the way to go.
Homer on how to keep your word
“It’s important to learn to slip out of things. This is what distinguishes us from animals! Except affection.”
In many ways, Homer was ahead of his time. “Slipping away from things” sounds like an excuse, but maintaining boundaries, saying “no” when you overexert yourself, and canceling recharge plans is self—care.
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Self-care may not have been a popular topic for teaching children when The Simpsons first came out in 1989, but it has now become commonplace and is overwhelmingly seen as an important thing that children should learn to stand up for. Homer doesn’t do what he doesn’t want and doesn’t expect the same from his children. In any case, this is a progressive lesson in autonomy.
Homer on Work Ethic
“If you don’t like your job, you don’t go on strike. You just go there every day and do it by halves.”
It goes without saying that this particular advice is most likely not going to help his children succeed in the world and is probably reckless. But the mood is very consistent with Homer’s philosophy of life, “work smarter, not harder.”
In many cases, this sluggish outlook on life actually works in Homer’s favor. After all, he kept his job at a nuclear power plant for more than three decades with very little effort. He gives priority to the people and things that are most important to him, such as Marge, his kids, food and beer, as Homer is among the biggest beer lovers from sitcoms. Without dwelling on other things, in this case at work, he saves himself a lot of trouble.
Homer on the etiquette of musical performance
“Lisa, never, never stop in the middle of Hoedown!”
This is the right advice, no matter how you look at it. When Lisa’s saxophone was stolen, her father gave her a jug to play with instead.
says that she “makes music” with his help—even warning her never to “stop in the middle of hooliganism.”
Although Lisa eventually gets her prized saxophone back, Homer’s guidance in this situation is not scary. He reminds her that anything can be a tool, and he is incredibly excited when she tries out her new “tool”. Homer is often criticized for being a bad parent, but the unpopular opinion about The Simpsons suggests that he is actually a good father, and this quote confirms this theory.
Homer on the screen
“Television… Teacher, Mother, Secret Lover!”
Screen time is a hot topic for parents these days. But for Homer, unlimited screen time is the best policy. Homer allows his children to watch TV as much as they want, provided that he can also watch what he wants.
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Lisa is an excellent student, plays the saxophone, loves to read and participates in extracurricular activities. Bart has a vivid imagination, he is an avid skateboarder and spends most of the day outdoors. It doesn’t look like Homer’s beliefs about time spent behind the screen negatively affected his children.
Homer on how to be helpful
“Well, I hope you’ve learned your lesson, Lisa. Never help anyone!”
Sometimes, especially with Lisa and often unintentionally, Homer prefers to use a reverse psychology approach to parenting. He teaches her the opposite lesson, in this case “never helping anyone” and leaves her to find a reason to continue doing what she thinks is right.
Lisa is smart and, despite Homer’s reverse lessons, follows her own moral compass. It’s also possible that she’s just watching Homer navigate the world and choosing a different path for herself. Nevertheless, Homer and Marge have raised independent children who think for themselves and learn from the mistakes of others.
Homer on health and well-being
“You can’t win friends with salad.”
Lisa, a committed vegetarian and environmentalist, often does not get along with her meat-eating father. This struggle is evident in season 7, when Lisa first becomes a vegetarian and ruins her father’s barbecue.
Eventually, Lisa learns that her vegetarianism is a personal choice, and Homer learns to respect it as such. Nevertheless, Homer is right: you can’t win friends with salad. But, as Lisa and her father find out, there are many delicious vegetarian dishes, because of which you can establish friendly relations. In this case, tofu-based Apu hot dogs may not have secured Kwik-E-Mart a place among the best restaurants in Springfield, but they helped Lisa make friends with Paul and Linda McCartney.
Homer on growing up
Bart: “This is the worst day of my life.” Homer: “The worst day of your life… Bye.”
Homer does not embellish life’s difficulties when talking to his children. No matter how cruel it may sound, honesty is the best policy. When Bart thinks he’s had the worst day of his life, Homer dutifully reminds him that it’s only the worst day of his life so far.
In a sense, Homer is absolutely right. It is important to teach children that there will always be problems to overcome. Learning to cope with difficult times is of paramount importance, and it is better to prepare children for this while they are still young. In addition, Homer knows something about the problems, as he has had a lot of them over the years.