On-the-Job Training
by John Norberg, humor columnist s

Some people believe Father's Day is just another event invented by greeting card companies.

But, that's not true.

It was invented by the Tie Manufacturer's Association.

Father's Day is an important time to honor fathers and let them know you love them -- even if they do drive you crazy from time to time.

All over America this morning families are gathering around fathers and giving them exactly what they want.

Well -- maybe not exactly what they want. That would be two more hours of sleep.

But they're getting exactly what they need: Love.

A man really doesn't need that many ties in his life.

But he can use all the love he can get.

I remember many years ago one of our children was supposed to be born on Father's Day.

At least that's the way I planned it.

But I didn't have my way. I would later learn not having your way is the definition of fatherhood.

Beth was born a few days after Father's Day.

On the afternoon my wife, Jeanne, and Beth came home from the hospital, it wasn't long before they needed a nap. Jeanne went upstairs to the bedroom and took Beth with her.

She set Beth in a fresh, white heirloom bassinet beside the bed. And the two of them fell fast asleep.

Quietly, I tiptoed into the room. Gently, I reached into the bassinet and lifted our baby into my arms.

I carried her downstairs to the old rocking chair where I sat and held her as I rocked and rocked -- back and forth, slowly, gently.

It was the first time Beth and I had ever been alone together.

There was no one there to tell me to do this or to do that; no one to tell me to hold her head this way; no one to tell me it was time for her to go to sleep.

It was just me and my brand new little girl.

I looked down at her and I smiled.

She looked up at me and she grinned.

My whole life lit up. I remember this like it was yesterday.

And I will never, ever forget what I thought at that very wonderful moment.

I looked down at Beth and I thought: I don't have the slightest idea what I'm supposed to be doing here.

Here's the thing: There is no formal training for fatherhood.

Being a husband and a father are absolutely the two most important responsibilities in any man's life.

And we end up doing it by the seat of our pants. It's on the job training.

You hand a man a baby and call him a father. You might as well hand him an airplane and call him a pilot.

I remember later on that day when we first brought Beth home:

Jeanne: I wonder why Beth is so fussy. She seems tired, but she took a nap with me. I wonder why she's so tired?

Me: Gee, I have no idea.

Fathers need help. Lots of it.

Here are some useful lines all fathers should memorize:

"Go ask your mother."

"When pigs fly."

"I'm not made of money."

"After your homework is done."

"You'll eat those peas and learn to like them."

"If you can't find your mother, go ask your grandmother."

Fatherhood is one of God's greatest gifts.

Hearing a child call you dad is probably the most wonderful sound a man will ever hear. The next greatest sound will be: "Dad, I'm graduating and I got a good job!

Of course, fathers have parenting books to help us figure things out. We have the example of our own fathers, who brought us up right.

But in my own life I have found the most important thing a man needs to become the greatest father he can be:

The greatest wife.

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