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Ryan Gosling’s Strong Message to Fathers

Dr. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker

The Hollywood awards season is upon us, kicked off by The Golden Globe Awards last weekend. It is always a time when, in addition to many of us hearing about many movies for the first time, we’re typically treated to a healthy dose of celebrity soap boxes, opinions and varied dissertations, and this year has already been no exception. But tucked neatly among many other moments that may have gotten more media attention, Ryan Gosling’s beautiful speech was a breath of fresh air.

Rather than pontificating or politicizing, he humbled himself by lauding the strength of Eva as she remained home raising their child, enduring pregnancy without him consistently around, all while caring for her brother who was dying of cancer. In doing this, he touched on things far more important in life than awards: family, humility and gratitude.

Ryan Gosling’s beautiful #GoldenGlobes speech reminds us of what really matters most in life.

Those in the room and those of us watching at home all got to view his touching speech, but the most important viewers that night were Amada and Esmeralda—his two daughters. Here’s what they saw when they watched their Dad accept his award:

You can be successful AND humble.

I talk often about the importance of teaching your child humility and modeling gratitude, and this is exactly what Ryan Gosling did. The award was about him and his performance, but he used that time to thank the mother of his children, and uplift the work she does. This sends a signal to his girls that even when the world is watching you, applauding you and the moment really is about you, you can still be humble and shine the spotlight on those around and beside you. Humility empowers you to turn moments that are about you, into moments about others.

Humility empowers you to turn moments that are about you, into moments about others.

My parents have a strong relationship.

In order for a child to have hope for a good partnership one day, she must see one modeled. When kids see their parents support and love one another, they subconsciously understand that a loving relationship is possible, and they begin to hope for one themselves.

Ryan and Eva clearly care deeply for each other, and this gives each of their daughters a wonderful example of a relationship to follow.

My priorities are family first, career last.

Notice how Gosling ordered his speech: he thanked Eva, then his daughters. He glosses over his own experience of “singing and dancing and playing the piano” ever so briefly, but doesn’t dwell there long. His daughters will feel safe and loved knowing their father prioritizes their mother. And they will feel loved and noticed each time he acknowledges them and says, “I love you.”

Kids feel loved and safe when they see their parents prioritize, value and affirm one another.

I don’t know about you, but watching an actor take the time to thank someone other than the people who made him famous makes me want to see his movie. After all, it’s wonderful to support the work of a humble, generous person.

How we talk about each other in public matters.

This is something else I often talk about. What we say matters, and this goes for what we say to people and what we say about them.

Seeing Gosling publicly praise and affirm Eva, rather than poke fun at her as we so often see couples do, sets a very important example for his children. It reminds us of the power of our words and the importance of respecting and speaking well of our family members, to their face and when they’re not in the room.

My hope at the beginning of this New Year is that each of us will follow Ryan Gosling’s lead and think about those around us more than ourselves. This goes for actors, doctors, mechanics, lawyers and even parents.

I have always lived by pretty simple rules. Do the right thing and good will follow. Think of others more than yourself, and joy will follow. Do whatever you can to help family and friends and you will be rich with both.

Happiness has nothing to do with our feelings, or about how important we are or others think we are; it has everything to do with how we value and regard others, our loved ones and neighbors. As we saw with Ryan Gosling’s speech, true joy doesn’t come from achievement, but from those who are there for us both before and after the achievement, or in spite of no achievement at all.


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