Sunday 5 July, 2020

Performance appraisal of a Caribbean dad

Father’s day 2020 feels like it’s shaping up to be a little bit different this year... 

In the past, many families started planning way in advance... This year, everyone was waiting until the eleventh hour for any last-minute COVID restrictions that would prevent them from leaving the house... And where many kids and dads would have been looking forward to "finally" getting some together-time at the end of a busy school year... let's face it, many families are beginning to feel like they hit their "together-time" quota for 2020 weeks ago, and have been in close quarters with one another just the teeniest bit too much in 2020.

But I digress...

As soon as my 9-year-old son learned to speak, I began a tradition of asking him to grade me as his dad-- a regular performance appraisal of sorts. This strategy makes perfect sense to me as it is one sure way of getting some perspective on whether I'm getting this thing right. 

A dry sense of humour coupled with a dose of 9-year-old precociousness made this year’s appraisal noteworthy, and... well... hilarious. 

Here are the areas in which my performance apparently "needs improvement"... 

Him: "Start knocking on my bedroom door"

Me: Ain’t gonna happen. This is my house and I pay the bills. That doesn’t stop him from retorting that I am violating his “human right” to privacy.

Him: "Stop trying to make me watch Disney movies"

Me: Guilty as charged. It’s so hard for me to accept that my 9-year-old doesn’t watch “kid stuff"... It is apparently childish and he would rather watch something more mentally stimulating... A documentary about prison life has recently caught his attention. When asked what he finds so entertaining about prison, he says, “It’s good to learn about someplace I’m never ever going to end up.” Well, that's a relief.

Him: "Stop offering me a taste of your beer"

Me: Don’t judge me-- I’m a prankster and would never actually let him taste it. But it caught me off guard to hear my kid tell me that I’m behaving irresponsibly.

Him: "Stop asking me if I have a girlfriend"

Me: Ok! So I do playfully ask if he likes any girls at school but I'm also tired of “Daddy, I’m only 9-years-old!” being screamed at me every single time.

Him: "Stop tasting my drink before you give it to me"

Me: C'mon, sometimes I just want a little sip of something and don’t want to wash an extra glass! He doesn’t agree with this reasoning and is quick to tell me that he doesn't know where my mouth has been. What!?

This child relishes running through his list of “improvements” and I can't help but chuckle at the twinkle in his eyes as he tells me "stop this... do more of that..." 

“Dad you are my role model,” he concludes. “You are one of the most important people to me and I love you so much.”

Being acknowledged as your child’s role model is enough for me.

Considering what 2020 has both given and taken away, let us celebrate father’s day with a little more zest than previous years, and to all the fathers out there who are stepping up and doing their best, Happy Fathers day... I wish you patience and guidance-- especially if your diminutive "HR Department" is as particular as mine.

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