Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Most Important Job

My oldest is now in 4th grade at a Spanish language immersion charter school. Because they are learning both Spanish and English, the kids skills like spelling and grammar are a little behind kids in regular school until around 5th or 6th grade.

I just found an assignment she had completed in class when she was in 3rd grade. It was an essay about their fathers (that's me!)

I am going to retype it using her words, but with some corrected spelling to make it easier to read. Frankly, there are times when I doubt that I am being the father I want to be and that my kids deserve. Many of us who were born in the 60's had dad's that were hard assess. I had the kind of dad that other hard assed dad's were afraid of. He only ever told me he loved me once, when I was 24. There were never any hugs or positive reinforcement. Dumb ass was a common name, but there were a host of others. He did teach me some valuable lessons that have helped make me successful, but what I wanted most was to know he both loved and respected me. If he were still alive he'd probably call me a dumb ass and say that those are things I should just know.

I'm not looking for sympathy, just making a point about the kind of father I wanted to be and didn’t want to be. Enough of my rambling, without further delay, here's my daughter's essay:

These are some things why I Love my dad. My dad is very smart.

1. My dad is smart because or else he wouldn't be working any more.

2. He's full of ideas.

3. He's just full of inspiration.

My Dad is funny.

My dad is funny because one time at the table he said "Why don’t cannibals eat clowns?" and I said I don't know why. And he said, "Because they taste funny." And this other time he said to me "Hey Andrea, do you want to see a magic trick? And I said yes and he opened the dishwasher and put his dishes inside and he said "Ta da." Oh, and one more time my dad picked me up and put me on his shoulder like I was a dead person and said "wew wew wew."

Why my dad is Lovable.

He's Lovable because he likes to hug and kiss me XOXOXOXOXO. He's also like my own little chair or actually big chair because he's a grownup of course. My dad says I love to a lot to me.

The End.

Every parent makes mistakes, though rarely as many as the children think. It's easy to get focused on the frustrations of my day job, or my magazine or writing. Things don't always go the way we want and it's easy to question whether we are making a difference at all. I'm very fortunate because regardless of what happens at work, the magazine or with my own writing, I've already reached my most important goal. Both my daughters know how much I love them. Now, the trick is to remember that even though I say it a lot, I need to find different ways to tell them and show them, so they never have to wonder. In the end, it is the most important job I'll ever have.


  1. Ah! And your magic tricks sound as good as mine. :D

  2. That was soooo sweet. God it feels good to read stuff like that from one of your children. Like you were saying about not knowing if you are doing your parental job or making a difference. And there you have it...your sweet little 3rd grader laying it out for you. I'm a mother of five...I know what you're talking about. It gets harder when they get older, teenagers, yea I said it...scary. They need even more reminding how much you love them. They forget for some reason.

  3. Wonderful post, Scott. Glad I found your blog through Cate's site.


  4. You sound like my dad. Which means you have two very happy little girls : )