Posted on 2003/11/11

“Okay readers, today we’re having a little pop quiz. It’s multiple choice. So sharpen your number 2 pencils and put on your thinking caps. Ready? Here’s a quote: ‘Dad, you’re an idiot.’

Now contestants, this was said to me because of which of the following transactions?

A. Coming to the breakfast table wearing pajamas and black socks

B. Asking my oldest daughter if that guy I saw her talking to at school yesterday was her boyfriend

C. Referring to rapper ‘Fitty Cent’ as ‘Fifty Cents’

or D. Entering the room

Okay, pencils down. Actually, it was a trick question. The answer is all of the above.

Now do you know how many times I called my father an idiot? Zero. Why? Because I feared him. Back then, we didn’t share our deep, personal feelings. Our deep conversation usually revolved around the Tigers bullpen. But my kids? I can’t get them to shut up. There’s not a feeling that my kids are afraid to express — over and over and over — and my wife reassures me this is a good thing — over and over and over. And she’s always right.

So do I wish that my kids feared me? Well, my house would be quieter and I’d spend a lot less time in the bathroom, but no. Because I know that whenever they insult me, whether it’s a “you’re an idiot,” “what a geek,” or an “I hate you,” an “I love you” isn’t far behind. And it’s the knowledge that my wife and kids love me that makes it safe for me to wear pajamas and black socks to the breakfast table.”

-Paul Hennessey’s last article on “8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter”

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