Fathers play many varied roles in the lives of their children
By DEIRDRE C. MAYS
SUMMERVILLE — A full time position is available for a man who has the following qualities: must be loving, caring, protective, play every kind of game well and have a lot of patience when helping with homework. Candidates must have child-proof references with some or no experience necessary; on-the-job training will be provided. The salary is negotiable and merit-based rewards can vary but a complete benefit package includes many holidays starting with Father’s Day.
Members of an impromptu board (sometimes bored) of directors in the second, third and fifth grades at Summerville Elementary School took time out of their busy schedules to compile the job requirements of fatherhood.
In a thoughtful yet squirming executive session, the board allowed that the hiring of such a weighty position would be determined by God but he should direct his subordinates with a gentle hand because, said Joseph Thomas, age 7, “God made dads for kids to have fun.”
But dads have to be good air traffic controllers like eight-and-a-half-year-old Zachary Parshook’s dad. And then there’s that work on those Air Force C-17s according to Robert Foote, age 6 — although he wasn’t exactly sure what that C-17 work entails. “It’s a big plane.” Regardless, he’s proud of his father and is delighted he gets to pin on his wings at his promotion. He deserves that move up in rank because “he takes good care of kids.”
Kevin Van Leer, opting for a more traditional approach to why God created fathers, believes that it is so mothers can have babies. He even said so while boldly ignoring the “isn’t Kevin sweet” taunts from his peers.
Madison Rollins dad, who also “works on C-17s” says he works very hard. “He mostly falls asleep on the couch because he’s very tired but he plays under the sprinklers with us too,” she said. “My dad is loving and caring and he plays with us if he has to,” said
Christian Johnson, age 8. She was followed by three others including seven-and-a-half-year-old Stephanie Juncker, Matt Marchewka, and Taylor Daylami, both age 6, who also encourage fathers to engage in play. All three like to play ball, ride bikes and swim. While stamina for that unusual triathlon is apparently a desirable trait for dads, strength is also a key component in good fatherhood. Just ask Jessy Devereaux, her dad knows how to protect his family, “in case of a tornado.”
It’s more cut and dried for Megan Kamjohnson, 6, Amanda Richards and Anthony Pearson, both 7, have similar dads, “who just take good care of us.”Jayson Abraham, eight-and-a-half, just likes to be alone with his dad just like Elizabeth Courtney and Matt Londergan, both 6, who value the advantage of having dads who run those special errands — the kind that involve getting ice cream or renting video games.
In between a wriggling cacophony which increased exponentially, all of the restless panel members agreed that telling dear old dad that they love him once in a while is “really good for him.”
The age bracket, however, provides a distinctive indicator of fatherhood requirements. Older and wiser Michel Drake, 11, suggests that fathers need to work hard at their job and Kyle Stroud, 11, was quite matter of fact in his agreement.
“Don’t always be working on things,” he suggests. “You have to take time off for the kids and you have to be supportive. My dad is very encouraging.”
“And a father should be disciplined to do his job and spend time with his children but he has to like his job to do it, you know what I mean,” Marissa Wentzler, 10, piped in.
Cara Kelly, 10, Elena Hood, 10, and Jane Harris, 11, echoed their younger counterparts’ sentiments of patience, loving and caring when considering a career in fatherhood.
“Be encouraging so that when you get 100 on a test you’ll want to do it again,” Cara said.
“Try to have a good imagination and personality,” Marissa interjected. “But know what you are talking about. My dad is always right about stuff”
“And don’t get impatient when you try to show kids something and then the kids don’t learn anything,” Michael added. “It’s hard to be patient.”
“Yeah, just be helpful,” Elena concluded. “But if you make a promise, you have to keep it.”
Sagely, Kyle summed up the requisites for being the best sort of dad and he was supported by agreeing nods of his peers: “You just can’t sit watching TV you have to be able to provide some entertainment,” he mused. “Take the family on outings and don’t forget how to act like a kid.”