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4 Great Lessons about Fatherhood from Creed II

  • Michael Foust
4 Great Lessons about Fatherhood from <em>Creed II</em>

The first Rocky film often is labeled a “sports movie,” but it never was just a boxing film. That 1976 Oscar winner also was a story about romance, family and life in general.

Similarly, the latest film in the Rocky franchise -- Creed II (PG-13) -- isn’t just movie about fighting. It’s about fatherhood, from beginning to end.

Here are four great lessons about fatherhood we should learn from this newest film:

Society Still Needs Dads

Society Still Needs Dads

Adonis Creed has money, fame, a woman who loves him, and a heavyweight championship belt. But something is missing. Adonis wonders what life would have been like with his father, Apollo Creed, who died in the boxing ring some 30 years ago. He stares at his picture. He watches old television footage. His mom and his mentors have helped fill in the gap, but no one could truly replace his dad. Eventually, though, he must decide: Is he fighting to avenge his father’s death -- something that could elicit the wrong emotions -- or for himself?  

This father-centric theme continues with two of the other characters: Rocky Balboa, who is estranged from his son and grandson, and Russian Ivan Drago, a hard-driving father who wants his son to do what he could not do: Beat the American.

Creed II shows us “bad fathering” and “good fathering” -- but, in the end, inspires us to be better dads. In fact, all three storylines have positive resolutions.

In a society that tells us gender doesn’t matter, the message of Creed II-- fathers are essential -- is one I can embrace.

Photo courtesy: MGM

It Takes a Real Man to Be a Dad

It Takes a Real Man to Be a Dad

Have you ever noticed that a cute child can make even the biggest-and-baddest-looking man smile? That’s because children are one of God’s greatest blessings (Psalm 127:3-5). They naturally bring us joy.

Adonis Creed is a big and bad dude. He’s also a man who is shocked to discover his fiance, Bianca, is pregnant. She is surprised, too. “I don’t know … if we are ready,” she says after a positive pregnancy test. 

But Adonis comes around. He wants his child -- a girl -- to grow up with a dad who loves her. He encourages Bianca. When the day comes for the child to be born, he rushes to the hospital, with Rocky at his side.

“This is gonna be the best day of your life -- right here,” an excited Rocky tells him.   

Adonis also learns how to lovingly console her when she cries. The film shows the muscular Adonis laying in bed, with a baby girl sleeping on his chest. It’s touching, and it reflects the old truism: Any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a dad. 

Census data tells us that 23 percent of children grow up with a single mother. Adonis is determined his girl isn’t going to join that stat.

Photo courtesy: MGM

It’s Never Too Late to Make Amends

It’s Never Too Late to Make Amends

Rocky bemoans the mistakes he made as a father. One of his biggest regrets is not being at the hospital for the birth of his grandchild -- a boy he’s never seen. 

“It’s pathetic,” a regretful Rocky tells Adonis. 

Rocky, a widower, is estranged from his adult son. He wants to restore the relationship but doesn’t know how to do it -- even though he has all the right answers. He has become a father-like figure to Adonis yet has failed as a father to his own son. He wonders: What should he say after all these years?  

“I don’t want you making the same mistakes I made,” Rocky tells Adonis.

At the hospital, Rocky walks to the payphone to call his son … but loses his courage.

In the end, Rocky and his adult son do make amends, providing us with a positive lesson straight out of Scripture. After all, the Bible’s primary theme is reconciliation. Jesus reconciled us to the Father, and He has given us the power to be reconciled to one another (Ephesians 4:32, Romans 12:17-21). 

Photo courtesy: MGM

It’s a Bad Idea to ‘Live Vicariously’ through Kids

It’s a Bad Idea to ‘Live Vicariously’ through Kids

Ivan Drago never forgot his loss to Rocky. Neither hid his family and friends, who abandoned him.

Thus, Drago lives vicariously through his son, Viktor, in hopes that he will avenge the loss to Rocky and restore pride to the family name. Ivan ruthlessly trains Viktor, and the relationship soon strains.   

“My son will break your boy,” Ivan tells Rocky. 

“All he knows is this,” Ivan adds, holding up his fists.

Viktor, though, grows bitter toward his father. He likes boxing, but not at the expense of losing a relationship with his dad.

Unlike the good-vs.-evil matchup in Rocky IVCreed II gives us a more nuanced plot. Sure, we’re cheering for Adonis, but we also feel compassion for Viktor and even for Ivan, who faces pressures from his country not present in the U.S. 

Thankfully, Ivan sees the error of his ways, but not before we get a lesson on how not to parent. It’s tempting to want our children to succeed in ways we did … and even in ways we did not. But we must remember: God has gifted each of us uniquely. Perhaps our children will have the same talents and passions that we have. Then again, maybe not.

Creed II is rated PG-13 for sports action violence, language, and a scene of sensuality.

Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.  

Photo courtesy: MGM





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