Atticus Finch was a man of consistent strength, integrity and courage. He demonstrated these qualities to his children under the most difficult of circumstances without ever using his fists or an attitude of superiority over those of lesser means.
Atticus was a true gentleman. He lived his life in quiet dignity. When his daughter, Scout said, “Atticus is real old, but I wouldn’t care if he couldn’t do anything,” Atticus didn’t feel the need to prove his children wrong. He remained humble even though he could’ve bragged about being the “deadest shot in Maycomb County.” It wasn’t until he put down a rabid dog with a single bullet that his children discovered his sharpshooting skills and saw him in a different light.
I think one of Atticus’s greatest virtues was his almost superhuman empathy. He encouraged patience, understanding and compassion when his children expressed frustration and anger toward other people’s behaviour. He urged them to see the good in others and to consider why they did the things they did, leaving his daughter and son with this advice, “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.”
Most importantly, Atticus respected his children. He accepted who they were. Instead of trying to make them conform to convention, he encouraged their unique qualities.
These are the virtues and traits I modeled my character, Eustace Floyd, from Fate’s Fables after. We only catch a brief glimpse of Fate’s father in Chapter 3, but his steadfast presence in her life are the strengths Fate draws upon throughout her harrowing journey inside the Book of Fables. I think since I didn’t have the chance to grow up with my dad, I gravitated toward the ideal father while I was developing Fate’s personality and background. I wanted Fate to have a solid foundation under her feet due to all of the challenges she faces in the Book of Fables. 😉
In my upcoming sequel, Fate’s Keep, (which I’m still busily working on) Eustace has a much greater presence. I’m really enjoying what he’s adding to the mix.
Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there doing their best be good dads!