Let’s all wish a very Happy Birthday to comedian and actor Bill Cosby who turns 76 years old today. The Cosby Show (1984-92) was required watching for young parents who wanted their kids to turn out to be Cosby kids. “Cliff” Huxtable and his wife Clair dealt with the challenges of raising five children each week before a captivated TV audience. The Cosby Show was the top rated show of the 1980’s and probably saved the half-hour sitcom — for better or worse.

The Cosby Philosophy

Bill Cosby took a lot of heat from African-American groups because he felt color had nothing to do with failure or success. And that was at least part of the message he delivered each week. Doing the right things in the right ways would take you farther than finding excuses for all the things holding you back.

The Cliff Huxtable character in the show was an OB-GYN doctor and an his wife Clair was an attorney. Many black groups claimed that due to the income level they enjoyed they was unable to relate to the common black family. The audience thankfully did not agree and over time many rank and file blacks began to embrace the lessons of the Huxtable family.

Did You Have a Cosby Dad?

My father and I had a tough relationship mostly because I was a handful as a teen. My older brother and sister were not only Cosby type kids they were “Stepford Cosby type kids.” Perfection was the low bar for both of them. For me, two and two was most definitely five.

I had great respect for my father but I was, for want of a better phrase, my own person. What I thought I should be and what he thought I should be were vastly different. If it were not for my father I would never have written books or even considered any kind of marketing or advertising career. So I guess something got through even though I didn’t realize it at the time. Unfortunately neither of my parents lived long enough to see their son published.

The Generation Gap

Each generation has a different challenge when it comes to the family unit. My parents had a hard time with Elvis and rock n’ roll. My generation is probably the first generation where kids and parents enjoyed the same music. Today, I’m sure some parents are finding it hard to figure out the “rap scene.” I guess the one overriding theme is every generation wants their kids to have it better than they did.

Some Final Thoughts

I’m not sure the Cosby parenting method would work for all families. The generic good vs. evil, and knowing right from wrong always works but all families have roadblocks. Some kids worship their parents others can’t wait to get out of the house. Some parents are overly permissive others are harshly restrictive. But one thing is sure. The Cosby Show was a positive light on family life and set a benchmark of success that most families could achieve. So thanks Bill for your contribution to society. We might have been much worse without you.

So, do you have a Cosby Dad??