A dad has many responsibilities, including (but not limited to): loving each child no matter what they wipe on the walls, protecting them from anyone who would harm them, providing for physical needs, offering support (hugs) during hard times, and showing your kids what it means to be a gentleman to their mother. These are well-known and those dads who do them know how much joy they bring.
While most dads are aware of some of these above responsibilities (even though far too many of us ignore some or all of these), too many dads out there are unaware of four lesser-known but equally important duties we have. As a public service to all paternal figures out there, here is a list of these four crucial responsibilities:
- A dad is required to tease the children in their household at all times. For children 10+, this requires a blend of sarcasm, pretending not to hear something, and restating out of context things children say. For children under 10, this requires the use of tickling and chasing them on all fours. For the latter, this can be done more effectively if the dad practices a scary growl beforehand (My own growl makes Grendel and his mother seem like smurfs).
- A dad needs to crack at least one cheesy pun or eye-rolling joke per day. The best place for this is during dinnertime, when the likelihood of getting simultaneous eye-rolls is increased. If you can crack the daily pun when a teenager’s friend is there, even better. Cracking your daily pun when your teenager has a friend over for dinner is just…magical. To effectively fulfill this responsibility requires twisting words around and (sometimes) dipping into the potty humor of a fifth-grader. These puns can’t just be a tad silly…they need to be painfully BAD. A few dinner examples for you to use if you need some help getting started (Feel free to roll your eyes as needed):(When peas are on the table) – “I need to take a PEA!”
(When there’s salad on the table) – “LETTUCE get started, everybody.”
(When it’s stir-fry for dinner) – “I didn’t know we were going for a WOK tonight…”
(When your wife is making fruit salad for dinner) – “Sorry dear, we CANTALOUPE…we’re already married!”
- A dad needs to look confused at situations and requests long enough to make your children lose interest and appeal to mom. This pass-the-buck approach is even better when the mom responds with “Go ask dad”. When a dad is lucky enough to get this response from mom, the kids have to come back to get the clueless look from dad once again. When done correctly, a child will go back and forth 6 times before giving up (usually with a foot-stomping and audible sigh).
- A dad needs to know the best times to embarrass their children, and to fulfill this responsibility frequently enough to keep their kids on edge. This should never be mean-spirited, should be something new each time (don’t re-use the same old tricks on the same child) and must be as creative as possible. Sometimes this is something simple like paging your teenage daughter over a supermarket speaker with something like “Attention, shoppers. Can we have Kate Lemon come to customer service? Katie-Watie, your daddy-waddy is waiting for you at the customer service desk…” Other times it would be might be something more complex like dressing up in tights and a pirate hat to escort their daughter to school whenever she’s tardy. Whatever means are used to embarrass your child(ren), don’t post it on YouTube to ‘teach them a lesson’. This is not cool and puts your child in the unwanted position of being criticized by 1.6 million strangers on how terrible they are. Teach your kids lessons at home…not online.
So, while many people may know the basic responsibilities of being a dad (paragraph 1), not everyone understands these four additional responsibilities. If you’re new to being a dad or have been a dad for a while but have neglected the above list, now is the day to start. Practice one or two of them until you’re comfortable saying “Sorry, dear, we CANTALOUPE, we’re already married!” when your wife is making a fruit salad or you aren’t nervous to wear a nerd outfit when your daughter’s date comes pick her up. Before long, you’ll be getting consistent eye-rolls and groans from your kids and you’ll be able to sleep better knowing ALL your daddy duties are being taken care of.