On Robin Hood & Fathers

The story of Robin Hood demonstrates the importance of fathers…the importance of Dad in the development of a child, the difficulties posed when Dads leave or die, and the importance of other fathering relationships that can further others’ capacity for emotional connection and attachment.

The 2010 release of Director Ridley Scott and Actor Russell Crow’s Robin Hood, at first glance, was just another Robin Hood movie.  It is a great movie, to be sure, with good acting, wonderful scenery, and convincing period costuming and setting.  After I watched the movie, I became interested in how well the movie developed the Robin Hood character…how he became  a figure at once so brash and seemingly rebellious of the status quo, and yet so admired by his band of merry men and worthy of Maid Marion’s affection.

Think about it…Robin’s father was present in Robin’s early life and actively involved in developing Robin’s basic character– his moral fiber, sense of justice, and belief in liberty and equality of individuals.  Robin’s father’s death was sudden and traumatic, resulting in emotional withdrawal by Robin and his walling himself from others.  Robin’s participation in war during the crusades with King Richard likely added to the emotional distancing, yet Robin was set apart from the other soldiers by his honesty and his sense that the war was wrong and that he was no different from those he was fighting.  Robin also had the strong sense of self to speak plainly to King Richard–apparently a trait that kings didn’t always take kindly.  So, even though Robin was emotionally distant, he maintained the basic character set in motion by his early parenting, which we are led to believe was strongly influenced by Robin’s father.

When he entered the home of Sir Walter Loxley, Robin was taken under the wing of the elder baron and treated with the warmth of a father in a way that allowed Robin to be able to show warmth and kindness to those around him.  Experience and research tell us that had Robin not had the early parenting and early healthy attachments, the emotional healing could not have happened so quickly.  And it is wonderful that in the movie the fathering of the elder Loxley was seen mirrored in later scenes as Robin showed affection and fathering toward others, including the orphaned children of the wood in the final scene of the movie…

Fathering is passed down to the next generation.  If appropriate father skips a generation, there is a gap that can have dire results.  Fathers should never doubt how important they are in the lives of their children and others in the sphere of their world, including the healing of others who have not been so fortunate to have a father in the first place.

Anitra S. Fay, Ph.D.

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