Today is Father’s Day, and I’d like to mark the occasion by offering some brief instruction in the fine art of being a dad.
I realize most dads go about their business quietly and competently. There’s no need to worry about them. Unfortunately, a smaller number of men grab all the headlines. These are the absentee fathers whose high-flying careers take precedence over family life, or those AWOL dads who think their paternal duties were discharged at the child’s conception.
Well, I’d like to reach out to those guys, so I’ve drawn up a simple pop quiz to help them hone their parenting skills.
A few questions are listed below. So, gentlemen, get your number two pencils ready, take a deep breath, and look straight ahead at all times.
Question 1: After every other baby-sitting option has been exhausted, you’ve been left in charge while your significant other enjoys a night out with the girls. Unfortunately, your infant son is howling his displeasure at some unspecified grievance. In response you should:
A) Turn off the baby monitor and close all the doors between you and him.
B) Check out the Internet for reality shows that might be interested in your plight.
C) Get a beer from the fridge and pop in a DVD until the child’s mother gets home.
D) Remain calm and seek the counsel of a trusted neighbor or your mother, who went through the same experience with you.
Question 2: Your cute-as-a-button toddler has begun to demonstrate boundless curiosity and is getting into everything around the house. As a result, you will need to:
A) Install a protective case – big enough to accommodate both your PS3 and XBox consoles – around your 50-inch Sony Bravia.
B) Lock away any medicinal herbs or prescription drugs you might have trouble replacing at short notice.
C) Ensure that your car keys, TV remotes, and cellphones are out of harm’s way.
D) Block off or child-proof any hazardous areas at home and keep an eye on the child.
Question 3: Following in your footsteps, your preteen son is showing signs of developing a weight problem and has already been called names at school. After suggesting in a nonjudgmental way that he should put down his video game controller and engage in some outdoor aerobic activity, you should start feeding him:
A) The same microwaveable delicacies you regularly enjoy.
B) A steady diet of trail mix washed down with a fluorescent energy drink.
C) A variety of fast-food children’s meals – minus the toys, to maintain his self-esteem.
D) Some no-frills home cooking.
Question 4: After a stellar high school career, your daughter is heading off to college. Before she leaves, you should give her:
A) Your fully serviced three-year-old Lexus.
B) A Visa card with a five-figure credit limit.
C) The names and phone numbers of the university trustees, with whom you remain close.
D) Your love and support and the promise that you are available for a chat at any hour.
Of course, the correct answers are all D. But you knew that already.
Now that you’ve passed your dad exam, perhaps it’s time to brush up on your hubby skills. For that I suggest my online seminar, “Your Guess Is As Good As Mine.”