The Hardest Job I’ve Ever Had: Being Dad
Reflecting on Father’s Day
The position of Dad needs to be taken seriously. And, in hindsight, I wish I could’ve been a bit more prepared. While there is no such job description for the position, I think it would read something like this:
Job Title: Father/Dad
Position Overview: The position of Dad is an extremely fulfilling and rewarding position, but not one to be taken lightly. You will lead, follow, sacrifice and love. Only those who are willing to give 100% of self need apply. If you are not willing to work the hardest you’ve worked, laugh the hardest you’ve laughed, cry the most you ever have, do not consider this position.
Reports to: God, spouse, children, various family members, government, education authorities, medical community, self
Duties & Responsibilities: While there are too many to list, position highlights are as follows:
- Establish a strong foundation of love, respect and continual learning for your ‘team.’ You must develop and identify personal growth opportunities at all times.
- You will be responsible for establishing a safe, secure environment and identifying potential hazards. Please note that potential hazards range from riding a bike without a helmet to going online to visit Barbie.com.
- Accomplish financial objectives by forecasting short-term needs (such as orthodontics) and developing strategies for accomplishing long-term goals (such as college tuition and retirement*)
- *See retirement note below in Benefits section.
- Maintain professionalism at most times but be okay with ‘losing it’ at other times. Identify a place to which to run and scream, cry and doubt yourself.
- Other duties as assigned.
Desired Skills & Experience:
Leadership skills – You are required to lead at all times. But, you must fully expect to be ignored.
Multitask – The ability to multitask is crucial in this position. The “other duties as assigned” are never-ending. You must have the ability to focus on the task at hand while ensuring the 44 other things happening at the same time continue to stay on track. The following situation illustrates this required skill.
You are in a marketing meeting establishing budgets for the next fiscal year. You then realize that you forgot to pay the gymnastics bill. While participating in budget conversations with your co-workers, you secretly position your smart phone on your lap and open your banking app. While logging in to pay the gym, you periodically repeat (out loud) words or statements being said in the current meeting to let them know you’re still participating. While checking your bank balance you say, “Right. Multi-channel dollar allocations.” And, then write something in your notebook that others assume is related to your current meeting. Rather, it’s a note to next pay the insurance bill. Followed by a reminder note that team member coaching plans are due. And, don’t forget your spouse’s birthday. All while being distracted by your daughter’s FCAT pressures.
Flexibility – In this position, you must be willing to change plans at any minute. Go ahead, plan a nice dinner with your wife and daughters at a fancy restaurant and romanticize the little ones exploring culinary wonders to be found at the newest, trendy restaurant. But, be prepared to instead make for them their 4,000th chicken tender because a fever or runny nose just occurred.
Perseverance – While that one particular dinner may not have worked out, don’t give up. You still have a responsibility to ‘show them the world’ so that they can grow beyond the 4 food items that are the staple of their diet.
Teamwork – Hillary was right – it takes a village. Be willing to accept and be insightful enough to seek help. You cannot do this alone. From early childhood educators to in-laws to your trusted neighbors, enlist others to assist. Most of all, remember to rely on the most powerful resource available to you – your faith.
Salary & Benefits: You will be a billionaire. In this position you will actually spend more than you make (at times). You will reflect back on a time when you didn’t have the income you do today and think of all the things you would have done with your current income. But then quickly realize it would never compare. Suddenly, you do not think of it as your money. Rather, it’s a resource to provide. A resource to guide. A resource to spoil them (occasionally) just because you can. The position does, however, guarantee you will be an Emotional Billionaire.
No 401K or comparable retirement is offered. You will never retire. No matter what stage you are in of this position, you are always on call. Always. Those who are not willing need not apply. Additionally, there is no formal medical plan offered. Medical benefits are realized in the form of a stronger heart and a sharper mind. Your heart and mind will become stronger and sharper due to the never ending emotional roller coaster ride this position offers. Please also note that another health benefit comes in the form of unrealized energy sources. You will find untapped energy you thought you never had. Because you have to. Because you’ll want to. Again, those not willing need not apply.
In summary, this position comes with the most outrageous benefit plan available.
I asked God for this position and was blessed to receive the title of Dad. I am so incredibly thankful for this ‘job.’ I never imagined the challenges and benefits – and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Today, I am that Dad that holds my children for just 30 seconds longer than they expect. And just when they ready for the hug to end, I am not. I am trying to slow time.
I am that Dad who slows down when passing their school. Not only because it’s the speed limit, but I do it to pray. Pray for their safety. Pray for the teachers. Pray for peace. Pray because they are not in my sight.
I am that Dad who hears them speak of their nervousness about a task and wants to handle it for them. But I’m also that Dad who knows they can handle it.
I am that Dad who catches a glimpse of them while they sleep and wonders what they will become. Excited about their future. Cherishing the current moments that are flying by.
I am that Dad who prays for guidance.
I am that Dad who looks at the mother of my children and wonders how she does it all.
I am that Dad who says quietly “I Love You” when I drop them at school. And, when I realize that they don’t reciprocate because their friends might hear, I say it even louder. And, then they smile and say it back just as loud knowing it’s okay to show their feelings.
I am that Dad who looks forward to a moment alone, but longs for the moment I walk in the door after work to see my family again.
I am that Dad who, critical of my own father at times, realizes that this is not an easy job and decisions that are made may not be our first choice.
I could have never imagined the physical and emotional effort it takes to be a Dad. But I love that I can celebrate Father’s Day.
Here’s to all the Dads. The Dads of Dads. The Family of Dads. And, the children that give us our jobs.
Happy Father’s Day.