Bill Cosby on parenting

Cosby honors son and comments on Cosby Show’s aim

WRITTEN BY: Margaret Swofford
Bill Cosby
Image Source: World Affairs Council of Philadelphia
Bill Cosby

This Father’s Day, Bill Cosby touchingly remembered his late son after posting a Youtube video and putting a picture up on a social media site of the two of them. The 75-year-old is fondly known for his father-figure roles in television series throughout his career.

While he has already honored his son, Cosby took the time on Sunday to celebrate the life of his son, Ennis Cosby, who was killed in 1997 in an attempted robbery. While it would be easy for Cosby to be filled with sadness and desperation regarding his son’s death, instead he took it and used it for good: as a learning experience for both himself and his loving supporters.

This hopeful attitude is reflected in his son, who struggled with dyslexia.

“The happiest day of my life occurred when I found out I was dyslexic. I believe that life is finding solutions, and the worst feeling to me is confusion,” Ennis Cosby said, quoted on his father’s website.

Bill Cosby not only held true as a faithful parenting figure to his son, but to the television world as well. Recently he told ABC News of his endeavors to “take the house back” from the kids on the show.

"I based the series on two important things: No. 1 ... I hated those series where the children were brighter than the parents, and those parents had to play dumb," Cosby said. "No. 2 was that I wanted to 'take the house back.'"

Cosby remarked that shows where the children are the smart ones and parents play dumb are an issue that should be addressed. That’s why he based the show off of his own experiences and was able to be forward about poor parenting.

"Parents make it difficult because we want to be well-liked," he said. "And I'm not saying that parenting, you shouldn't want to be well-liked, but you also have to have some kind of judgment."

His grandfather played a notable role in his life and held true to this philosophy, according to Cosby.

One story that Cosby still remembers is when his grandfather would make him “listen to his philosophy pertaining to the Old Testament. … [I would] act like I knew what he was talking about, and at the end he would give me 25 cents and I would go get some ice cream.”

But when Cosby turned 14 his grandfather’s advice became a little more practical.

“He knew I was chomping at the bit … to play football for Central High School in Philadelphia, [And] he said to me, ‘I just want to tell you: Don’t play football. Your bones are not strong enough. … If I were you, I would wait ‘til you’re around 23 years old.’ Twenty-three. I didn’t know what he was talking about,” Cosby said.

After breaking his shoulder during the first game of the season, Cosby realized the truth in his grandfather’s wise words. Cosby figured that he had it in for him, since he didn’t heed his elder’s words of advice.

“I was at home, and I had the cast on and granddad came [to visit]," Cosby said. "He just turned that handle, walked in, and he looked at me and I was on the sofa. He was talking to my mother and I set my ears back so I could listen to him, because I knew I was waiting on him to tell my mother, ‘I told junior not to play football.’”

But, as it happens, his grandfather did nothing of the sort.

“He bent over and he kissed me on the forehead and said, ‘How you feeling?’ And I said, ‘Fine, granddad. I’m just really sad.’ And he put a quarter in my hand and he said, ‘Go get yourself some ice cream. It’s got calcium in it,’ and he left.”

We can see this firm hand and wise advice reflected in Cosby’s warm-hearted show. It goes to show that even after so many years and tough experiences, a dad can really have an effect on a person, and it’s better to be right then well-liked.

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