Uncle Buck Demonstrates the Wisdom of President Dalton’s Counsel

President Elaine S. Dalton, speaking in this morning’s conference: “Fathers, if  your daughter isn’t back from her date on time, go get her!”

I’ve been wanting to teach gospel principles through John Hughes’s films for my whole life long. Now, finally, the Young Women General President has given me the perfect opportunity to do so. This has been a good conference indeed.


  1. One of my favorite John Candy scenes.

  2. When I was on my mission in chicago, there was an overweight man in one of the wards I served who showed a resemblance to John Candy. I was in the lobby one day when he walked up the stairs, and a little black kid ran up to him and said, “UNCLE BUCK!!! I DIDN’T KNOW YOU CAME TO OUR CHURCH!!!”

  3. Joe: I’ve not seen that movie, but that’s a great story!!

  4. Russell,

    Well *somebody’s* parents should be grateful. If they’re not then fooey on them.

  5. I just told my 15 yr old daughter that this is my rule for her when she starts dating. She agreed completely, if rolling her eyes can be interpreted as agreement (which, as a father of teenagers, is how I always interpret it).

  6. The scene where Uncle Buck takes on the mean assistant principal is one of my favorites. “Take this quarter …”

  7. I was disappointed that the video clip cut so short. Where’s the part with him duct-taping the offending boy and throwing him in the trunk of his car?

  8. Lol! Amen brother, amen!

  9. Alex T. Valencic,

    That was a different clip. I was thinking of including both of them–and maybe even the earlier clip, when Buck threatens Bug with the hatchet–but then I got lazy. My apologies.

  10. Meldrum the Less says:

    If you go get her for being late for a date, she will retailate. If she has any spunk. If you have not already killed it, she will eventually be a doormat when you are no longer there to protect her. Avoid “going nuclear” with teenagers. I really hate it when GA’s start to move off theology and into the topic of counseling teenagers, especially when it just doesn’t work. You can win many battles with teenagers but you will lose the war if you chose to habitually fight them. If you have not got them somewhat under control by that age to where you can give them increasing (n contrast to decreasing) levels of freedom, you might try some other tactic. I suggest the series of books on Positive Discipline but they may be dated.

    Last Halloween my college (yes college!) age daughter brought some of her mostly non-LDS friends over to chill around a fire in the back yard and hear dear old dad tell lame ghost stories until the real parties heated up Nearby is an old cemetery in the unlikely location right behind a preschool. I told the girls that my daughter used to play soccer on a field behind the preschool and that over 100 yeas ago the field was actually a cemetery. And every 10 years on Halloween it s reportedly turns back into a cemetery for the duration of the night. These girls nonchalantly allowed me to drive them over to the back of the preschool “soccer field” to check it out. It was dark and rainy, perfect setting.

    I started freaking out when I saw the cemetery and my daughter played right along perfectly. These sophisticated college girls were scared half out of their wits! They didn’t dare venture out of the car to see if the head stones were real. Then I chuckled with an evil grin and said: this is the point where, if I was half my current age, I would take advantage of you! And guys today are probably lots worse.

    The girls reported later that they went to three different parties and none were as good as mine. The mix of alcohol, a little fear and sex was obvious and unappealing. Guess where they want to go this year? This is how you keep your teenagers out of trouble. You compete and you win. Then they actually want to follow the rules and be safe because it is more fun now and in the long run. No battles.

  11. Meldrum,
    Totally agree with you. My parents stash of food kept me out of trouble past 8.

  12. *parents’

  13. Meldrum the Less says:

    Is any body still there? No matter.

    Every chapter of the books on positive discipline give parents a few more tools in molding the character of their children and it is hard to boil it all down to one (not) short blog entry. But I found that the best thing I could do to discipline my teenagers was to:

    1. Give them privileges they really wanted.
    2. Tell them that the only reason I was giving them the privilege was to take it away when I wanted to control them. Tell them this is a rope around their neck.
    3. Take it away briefly over some trivial infraction so that they know I really will.
    4. Take it away when needed. Usually won’t happen more than once a year in my experience, after properly doing #3.

    Weak things become strong:
    When my daughter was around 13 1/2 years old she became interested in getting a car. At first she wanted a red Bugatti with a 1000 hp engine. Since our house was worth more than a couple hundred thousand dollars she could not see why we could not afford this car, costing only about half that much. I carefully cultivated this desire instead of ridiculing or trying to squelch it.

    A few months later I told her she could have her own car but only under strict conditions that we would determine together. She was so excited that she would have agreed to any conditions. Her conditions: the car must be cute, and it must be red. My conditions: it must cost less than $2500, have less than 100K miles, get over 30 mpg, owner must keep a 3.8 GPA, must be of a make with many exemplars in our neighborhood still running after 15 years, (BMW, Mercedes,Toyota, Honda, and a few others) and I had to inspect/ test drive it first.

    That child spent hours on the internet learning about cars and looking for one. Finally, she found and bought a car a few days before her 15th birthday that came close enough to meeting all of the requirements. The (then) 15 year old red Celica cost a few hundred more and had expensive wheels worth that much more and she got her friends to agree to help her pay the difference.

    At first, she could only drive her car with a parent to early morning seminary when the traffic is light. She graduated slowly to other levels. All I had to do to discipline her throughout high school was to silently but visibly pick up the car keys with a stern expression on my face and she would shape right up with no argument. If she were to stay out too late on a date as described above, she knew that a for sale sign would already be in her car window upon her return. (Yes, I had a sign: car for sale $2500, in easy reach). She would do anything to protect her cute little car from being sold at auction and crushed up into scrap metal. Even come home from a date when she said she would.

    At age 20 she is an experienced driver, the family go-to person when we crossed Wyoming last Christmas time in a blizzard at night and a much better driver than I am. She is also learning the “joys” of constantly fixing an old car which, according to her spread sheet on the subject, is still far cheaper than making payments on a new one.