Comedian Tim Allen, who plays a father on two highly successful ABC sitcoms — Home Improvement and Last Man Standing — may not be the best role model for dad. His character on both television shows fumbles through countless comical circumstances. What Allen does demonstrate, though, is the pivotal role fathers can play in the lives of their children.

In a 2011 Parade magazine interview with Erin Hill, Allen was asked whether the plot lines in the shows reflect his own experiences. He responded by stating: “Nothing’s as easy as it is on a sitcom. Issues that we take care of in 20 minutes on the show can stretch out over years in real families. I like to have a relatable baseline in the story so people go, ‘Yeah, I’ve been there,’ and then we get to laugh about it.”

For example, in an episode of Home Improvement that aired on September 17, 1996, Allen reluctantly tries to speak with TV son, Brad, about dating and sex. As he debriefs the conversation with his neighbor, Wilson, Allen reveals his reluctance to even talk about sex with his son. “I just want to say the right thing. If I mess up… he’ll turn off and I’m afraid he’ll never come to me again.”

Dads are often uncomfortable when doing certain things, especially if new or unfamiliar. So when it comes to honoring your dad on Father’s Day, choose something he loves and watch him literally beam with anticipation.

Here are 10 ways to express your love for your dad this Father’s Day.

1. Forget brunch at some fancy restaurant.

Instead, take him to his favorite hole-in-the-wall. Make sure the place you choose is loud enough that all the other patrons won’t hear his tales about your childhood and notice your embarrassment.

2. If Dad would rather stay home than go out, make his favorite meal with him.

That way you get to hang out with him, learn a little about cooking and, best of all, enjoy some terrific food. Even more, if he’s a hunter or fisherman, offer to go out with him for the day so you can catch your dinner first.

3. Wash his vehicle.

He probably won’t let you do it by yourself, but then suggest that the two of you wash it together. What better way to spend an afternoon with Dad outside in the sun, enjoying some playful banter while his vehicle gets sparkly clean?

4. Play a game with him.

He will probably suggest a board game so make a deal with him. Tell him that you will play a board game with him if he is willing to play video games with you. That way both of you get to do something you love.

5. If your dad is a handyman, take him to Home Depot or some other local home improvement store.

He will love checking out the tools and telling you about various projects he has done with them. Ask him to point out which tool he wishes he had in his shop. If you can find something in your price range, make note of it and come back to buy it later. Maybe even ask him to build something with you.

6. Watch a game, theater production or movie with him.

If you can find a live event, that works even better. But he will be perfectly content if you sit beside him while he’s watching his favorite team or action hero.

7. How about joining him in his favorite activity?

Does your dad like riding a bike, golfing, sailing, or any other outdoor fun? Ask him to teach you if the activity is something you haven’t done before or are not competent in. He will love the fact that you are showing interest in what he loves and will take tremendous pride in seeing you improve.

8. Is Dad a car guy?

If you live in a community large enough to have supercar rentals, pay for a drive and watch his eyes light up. This might be something he has always dreamed of doing but considered it impractical. If money is an issue, head to your local car dealer and simply take a few new vehicles out for a test drive with him.

9. Ask Dad to help you support a neighbor in need or serve in a community facility.

He will enjoy spending time with you while also feeling rewarded for helping someone else out.

10. Pay for an online service that provides information on your heritage or family tree.

Then offer to help him create an account and begin searching with him. Or help him organize or digitize old photos and ask him to tell stories about what was going on in the pictures.

All of these have one thing in common – time. Dads are no different from moms in this regard. They love spending time with their kids. The key is finding something that the two of you (or more) can enjoy together.

While we may hesitate to model ourselves after TV fathers like Tim Allen, they do provide a glimpse into the lives of many families. Life in North America has become increasingly complicated for moms and dads as economic pressures, among other things, place tremendous strain on the conventional way of life. Even something as simple as family meal times around the dinner table seem quaint in our modern world.

This is also true of the traditional fatherhood role. The images of dads teaching their kids how to ride a bike, throw a ball, or drive stick also seem like distant memories. Nevertheless, it does not alter the reality that kids need a father figure in their lives. They need someone who will encourage them, support them, and love them in ways that are different from their moms.

If your father doesn’t know what to do with a mushy card or poetic words, he will love just hanging out with you. In more ways than you can imagine, you can show your love for him by just being with him.

Try one or more of the ideas suggested, or think of something else that your own father enjoys, and demonstrate to your dad that he matters to you. You’ll be glad you did and it will be days before he comes down off his cloud of joy.

This article was written by: Rick Theissen

Photo Credit: Lindy Baker