Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

My one and only child will soon turn nine, so this is my ninth Fathers' Day as an actual father and caretaker of another human being. And on this and on Mothers' Day, we as a society rightfully honor the parents and grandparents who have reared offspring in this crazy, mixed-up world. 

So fine, for the 9th year in a row, I'll enjoy my day, take my bow as being "World's Greatest Dad" (sorry Izzy Mandelbaum), consume my medium-rare steak dinner, and watch the final day of the U.S. Open. But really no bows are necessary. And as Chris Rock noted, certainly no cookie rewards are warranted for literally doing the least you could ask of a human being who brings children into the world.

See, in spite of the thousands of parenting advice books and blogs devoted to documenting every mundane and insignificant part of raising kids, being a half-decent parent is basically the easiest job in the world. Sure, Drew Magary wrote a great book and some humorous Dadspin posts on the subject of the trials of parenting. And being a "perfect" parent is certainly probably impossible. That's the point. But being a good parent basically just means you have to love your kids unconditionally and try as hard as you can. The End.

There are no perfect parents and no singly perfect parenting style, and there doesn't have to be. The beauty is your kid will likely still turn out just fine even if you are a far-from-perfect parent. Granted, our lack of government funding for programs to ease the costs and burdens of working parents, sometimes make it more challenging, but it's still a relatively easy job. And it actually gets easier once they get old enough to communicate clearly on their own. The importance of being a good parent in no way increases the degree of difficulty. It may put more pressure on you, especially later in your child's life, to keep them on the righteous path, but I don't think it makes the job any harder. 

Now the outrageously rising costs of child care and education are a completely different animal, but that's a different topic for a different day. Yes, earning and/or saving enough money to provide your child with the very best chance of success as an adult is very challenging and seemingly becoming less attainable for the average family every single year. But as long as you the build foundation with your child, he or she will still be fine, doing whatever it is they end up doing. And the foundation is the easy part. Being a passably good parent just requires love, empathy, minor sacrifices, and occasionally your undivided attention. And the more you give them, the more you will get back (whether you like or not :-) ).

Happy Fathers' Day!

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