Help Wanted: Father

Job Description  Long term (as in lifetime) position in challenging and ever-changing work environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication skills and be willing to adopt a G-rated vocabulary. Applicants must also trade any existing sports vehicles in for a “babe” repelling, baby-friendly minivan.
Some undercover work necessary such as checking up on kids and getting to the bottom of who ate the rest of the cookies hidden on the top shelf behind the canned goods.  Job entails challenging, exciting work with occasional elements of repetition and monotony.  (For instance playing Candy Land 1,000 times, teaching the ABC’s and repeating ad nauseam “remember to turn off the lights.”)
Qualifications Unconditional love even if told “You don’t know anything.”
Infinite patience.  Especially after a long day’s work when asked to start a barbecue, fix broken bikes and appliances, figure out what is wrong with the computer and enough energy left over to read Go Dog Go for the 117th time.
Humility. Essential for all the times you will hear:  “That’s not the way mommy does it.””
Strong skills in negotiating, conflict resolution and crisis management. Having the wisdom of Solomon is a plus.
Keen organization skills necessary to separate kids artwork and toys from junk mail, garbage, and science projects.
Accounting skills:  Must balance petty cash disbursements and outgoing products in an equitable manner to avoid hearing “He got more than me!”
Salesmanship:  Must be able to sell kids on why the $20 pair of shoes is actually much better than the $80 pair.  Job also entails door-to-door selling of raffle tickets and cookies as you become known as “Mr. Fundraiser.”
Physical requirements   Very thick skin.  Willingness to be hated until teen needs $5 or permission to go somewhere.
Physical endurance. Stamina to push swings until your arms feel like they will fall off. Legs must be strong enough to climb up snowy hills while pulling a full sled.  You must also posses “faster-than-a-speeding bullet” speed, in case the screams coming from the back yard be an actual emergency.
Height and looks unimportant. Regardless of your actual appearance, your children will be so convinced that you are the tallest, strongest Dad in the neighborhood that they will actually challenge other kids’ fathers to fights. Be ready.
Travel requirements  Late night trips to the emergency room essential (usually for ear infections that didn’t seem so critical during daylight hours.)  Also, will be called on for occasional carpooling. Travel may include overnight camping trips to mosquito-infested Scout camps and an infinite number of sporting events beginning with Pee Wee- something or other.  No reimbursement for mileage or expenses incurred.
Technical experience  Broad base of knowledge helpful so you need not make up answers to questions such as: Why do you have hair growing out of your ears and, why is our cat having babies?   Additional expertise will be learned later from Chinese product instruction sheets explaining how to assemble cheap and very breakable toys. This will prepare you for the challenge of one day figuring out hand-held video games, kids’ computer programs and ipods.
Language requirements   Understanding and speaking baby talk fluently. As child progresses parenting classes available for learning teen jargon and screening music and movies for appropriateness.
Career advancement opportunities  None.  You begin at the pinnacle of your career.  During the teen years, you will actually be demoted.  By the time you are a grandfather, you will be able to climb back up on your pedestal.
Salary Not enough to buy all the cool stuff that all the other kids have.

Benefits  Boundless opportunities for spiritual growth, lifetime supply of hugs and the joy of grandchildren.
(This was taken from Amazing Grace for Fathers, co-authored by Mark Armstrong)

Patti Maguire Armstrong, is the mother of 10, and has a B.A. in social work and M.A. in public administration. Her newest book is Holy Hacks: Everyday Ways to Live Your Faith & Get to Heaven. Others include Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families and the Amazing Grace Series. Follow her at @PattiArmstrong and read her blog at PattiMaguireArmstrong.com.

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