Being a parent, specifically “Father,” is a great gig. Mom’s do all the heavy lifting, and you end up the hero. I don’t know how it is, but I love the way it works. Well, maybe I do know how it works. In four words, “Everybody loves the fool.”
And, gentlemen in fatherhood, lend me your ears: the mere fact we are dads means we will be an embarrassment to our kids. It is just a fact. It could be the hike of your pants, the color of your socks, the butchering of venacular or the way you dance a little dance in public when a song plays over a speaker. You’re gonna’ embarrass the offspring.
That being said, dads, we might as well embrace life’s designation, but how about we take it a step further? Let’s plan for the Big One. Let me cut to the chase. Your new No. 1 goal as a parent is to embarrass your children.
Be a guiding light of honesty, compassion, good will and vision? Steer them to paths of critical thinking and financial smarts? Be the example of humility, moderation; provide shelter, comfort, food, love, security and support?
All that stuff is overrated! (No, I am not endorsing tormenting your children at every turn with something outlandish sending them straight to the therapist’s couch — I just say, let’s plan for the future.)
Come on, your parents embarrassed you, now it’s your turn to turn the tables. You’re the big dog, the top of your clan’s totem pole. Go ahead, rub your hands mischievously together; twirl your imaginary handlebar-ed mustache. Laugh silently inside, or let out the mu-haw-haws with Snidely Whiplash glee!
It’s your turn baby, let the shenanigans commence! A word of advice, keep the batteries on your phone/camera charged. Be on point. And, while the Boys Scouts are too nice for our mischievously motivated ways, they do have a good motto you need to adopt. Always be ready.
Be prepared to capture those moments when your kids shove sea shells in their nose, when they paint the walls with bodily waste, or their bodies with magic marker (because these types of things will happen).
Photographic evidence of their “cuteness” will be pure gold in about 16 years. Remember, you are stockpiling your arsenal of embarrassing moments while they are too small, don’t understand what’s going on and cannot defend themselves. And, what’s more they will not even remember you have this mountain of fun at their expense stuff until they invite their first girlfriend over to your house and you “share” it.
Believe me, this moment will be GREAT!
Yes, yes. RELAX all you moms, girlfriends, wives and other females reading now. I am an advocate for your man out there helping raise good, hard-working and productive members of society; boys who will remember to pickup their dirty underwear, wash their own clothes and keep the toilet tidy. Just read along and enjoy the fun. I am talking man-to-men here, but you’re welcome to our pow-wow, just don’t poo-poo the guy time.
Men who are to be dads, dads and other dudes who may one day want to go into fatherhood: It is the single most awesome thing you can do. The challenges are many, the rewards priceless. You will be okay at it. Be the dad you always wanted. I always tell my boys this, “I ain’t perfect. The things I do good, copy and make your own. And, learn from and try not to make the same mistakes I have.”
Dads, follow your instincts. Raise good kids, however, remember you also want to raise kids who have a sense of humor and who do not take themselves too seriously.
Celebrate their quirks and their individuality. You don’t want them to be mind-numbed, stiff robots who only do as they are programmed. You’ll want them to roll with the punches Life throws at them, and to be able to get up, dust themselves off, laugh and move forward.
Usually it’s the moms out there who keep track of all the milestones in little Johnny or Suzie’s life. Right now, I am imploring all you dads out there to get into the game! Keep track. Write a journal. Take notes on all the funny things your kids do and say because, there will be so much of it, you will not remember it all.
I am gonna’ write a book on my exploits of being a father (here’s my working title, “Don’t Rush Me I am Making Mistakes As Fast As I Can, or How I Wrecked My Kids. A book for dads, but moms may snicker, too”) and I have been lucky, because for the last two decades I have written my kids’ stuff down as they happened in my column. Going back and looking at those old columns has affirmed my suspicion: My memory ain’t as good as I thought it was.
So, Dads and Dads-In-Waiting, remember, these little insights into their lives, written by you will be cherished by generations to come; to those who come after you, even after you are dead and buried, you will be a rock star or a hero.
And, riddle me this Batman: What dad doesn’t want to be a hero?