When you watch your kids sleep, and feel a kinship Discovery Channel scientist who’s just approached a large, carnivorous just-tranquilized animal, it’s completely justified.
That uneasy feeling you get when animated TV shows come on with mature themes and innuendo humor come on with the kids in the room, that causes you to change the channel? Never lose it.
Do what you can to ensure your teenage girl’s homework-to-hair-fixin’ ratio remains around 2-to-1, at least. 3-to-1, if you have Ivy League (or private college) aspirations for her.
Even if all your kids are in sight and each is eating an ice cream cone, if you hear a scream of “daddy!” from behind you, you will turn to look. This is natural.
Don’t fret over a few lost cool points with the kids. Many conditions play into points loss. Just like a batter in a slump, or a golfer at the British Open, step back, don’t try too hard, and go back to what got you to the big leagues in the first place.
Operating an electric grass mower. Cooking crepes. Driving the speed limit. These are activities that will emasculate you only if you let them.
Your kids likely aren’t going to be impressed when you try to sing like George Michael. This is OK.
Fatherhood is: Sitting through a live fantasy football draft with your daughter for the first time.
You understand how impossible raising a grade-point average is, most likely. Know something even tough than that? Convincing your new high schooler how impossible it is to raise a grade-point average – even if it involves cutting soccer practice time, Netflix privileges and I-pod time. And especially if you have experience in struggling to raise a grade-point average, not maintaining a good one.
If you hear your teenager singing Michael Buble songs, just smile to yourself and keep quiet, or she’ll stop.
Dads don’t worry about lice. We just don’t.
The universe makes more sense for a dad when the weather’s warm enough to roll down the car windows with the kids and spit out sunflower seeds. We’re the only ones who see the charm in this.
A man’s tolerance is challenged when Flo Rida’s “Whistle” comes on. The kids whistle and sing, even though they don’t understand. As a dad, do you grit your teeth and thank the Steve Miller Band that they don’t understand the lyrics?
I love hearing a parent asking a child, “are you ready to go now?” when they’re in the toy department or park, or “ready to have dinner now?” when the kid’s playing Barbies or tag, or “ready to go to bed now?” when they’re bouncing on the couch.
When someone uses my first name, I assume I’m in trouble.
Watching sisters in litigation against each other in Judge Alex the other day (What? I’m unemployed. I’m supposed to watch judge shows) made me add something to my “Please, Jesus” list (along with things such as, “Please let the Rockies win a World Series before I’m 80,” “Please don’t let my kids climb out of the window of a skyscraper,” and “Please let no American president ever ban the practice of pizza buffets”): “Please, don’t ever let my girls go to litigation against each other. In Judge Alex’s courtroom, or otherwise.
I found myself mentally spent after a tough weekend of soccer. My teams didn’t lead a single minute in their games, one didn’t even get a shot on goal, another missed a good amount of open shots, and a third played in sloppy, rainy conditions against a team that kept it’s biggest boys on offense the entire game.
But when I thought about how I felt, I discovered it wasn’t the game results or the way the matches went down that drained me.
It was the fact that all these kids really feel like *my kids*. This affliction has the potential for some great highs, like when the 7-8 team gang tackled me when I arrived at the field for the opener, or a kid scores his first goal.
It’s also apt to its share of lows, such as when a girl gives up a lot of goals in a little bit of time, or takes a shot in the ribs, or I hear after a game that one kid might not have gotten enough playing time.
I also know I’d not change a thing about it. I’m thankful to have the barometer built in.
There are times in the car when words won’t do justice to a touchy situation with one of my girls and me. I’ll reach my hand behind the seat, offer it to my girl, and smile inconspicuously when I feel her hand in mine. I’ll hold it as long as it needs to be held.
One of the single toughest jobs as a dad is teaching your child to know when to take the high road, and when to take the fight. I believe it’s because, as men, we’re still learning, no matter how old you are, and usually, there isn’t a right or wrong answer. Or, it might seem like two wrong answers; you have to figure out which is the least wrong.
If you ask me, the best thing you can do, then, dads, is when you’re faced with that fork in the road, you have to take it, as Yogi Berra would say. Even if you don’t get the right answer – or at least, the least wrong answer – if your kids see you giving your best at it, you’re teaching them the lesson you need to teach.