PATERNITY SUITE MODERN FATHERHOOD MADE EASY
Your Dad Score
Test your fatherhood IQ with this guide to
stress-free parenting BY HUGH O NEILL
Of all the great things about sports, The Score the world, your work matters—a lot—and the
is the best of all. It’s a wonderful thing, The kids should know it. Two other bennies derive
Score. Unlike everything else, it isn’t nuanced, from missing a game. First, it gives the kids
ambiguous, or any of the other adjectives that privacy in which to fail. Dad doesn’t need to
describe subtlety. It’s just…The Score. Cavs: see every dropped pop-up. Second, it teaches
90, Lakers: 84. It tells us where things stand. kids that they can succeed without the old
Fatherhood has no such handy feature. Kids man, that they have wings of their own.
are maddeningly unique and mysterious. How
do we know if we’re behind by a bucket or
coasting with a 20-point lead? If we’re in the
middle of a masterful dad turn or headed for
fame as the parent of a notorious fugitive?
Reliable dad metrics are hard to come by.
But here are 10 useful indicators. If none feel
familiar, add a couple to your game plan. If you
read this and bells ring, you’re doing well.
You sometimes miss a game. It’s great
if you get to your kids’ events. Children need
to know Dad supports them. But do not win
the perfect-attendance pin. The boy needs
to know that the world isn’t Jason-centric.
If Obama sees every soccer game at Sidwell
Friends and the economy keeps heading
south, that makes his girls too important.
Even if you’re not the most powerful man in
You’re cool with their not being at
all like you. A great challenge of being a
father is the obligation to honor The Other.
Any egotist can love his little clone. But if you
played small for ward at Seton Hall and are still
crazy about your geeky comic-book boy, that’s
a feather in your dad cap. It takes integrity to
happily watch our kids tread different trails.
Keep in mind the Jewish wisdom that when
you appear before God, he won’t gripe if you
weren’t as brave as Moses, but he might well
complain if you never became yourself. The
assignment is to help your kids grow into
themselves. Step one: Accept who they are.
You top your ice cream with berries.
A passion for health is as important as
anything you might teach your kids about
character. So, too, is
a joy in life’s treats. So
dietary discipline is the
daily baseline rhythm;
your house should
teem with broccoli and
bananas, peaches and
bran. But indulgence is
the exuberant riff. The
ultimate Dad logo shows
a bowl of ice cream
heaped with berries.
Throw in a commitment
to exercise and you
multiply your kids’
chances at a joyous life by
a factor of a google. ››