The collective noun for clowns is a pratfall, and it makes no sense that you can have a rout of snails. Snails could as much create a rout as my kids would volunteer that they have homework. And, you might think that the rush of students on the three o’clock bell might be a whoop, given the ecstatic noise. However, chimpanzees had first dibs on whoop, and so I am swarmed by a flunk of students. Even after 6 years of meeting my daughters after school, I still enjoy the delightful instant of recognising them amongst the anonymity of hundreds in the same uniform.

I love the crash tackle with the racing chatter of accounts of the school day. I love finding our connection following the few days since the last turn of having my daughters in my care.  I love falling back into being us.

Glorious Gift

It is those moments that create a regular awareness that there is such a privilege in being a dad. That is how it was again last night. My two earthly angels were in my care. Typically, we head straight home after school to sort out our evening routine. Instead, a Father’s Day gift needed to be bought, so we stopped by a favourite bookshop, which was a relief because they don’t sell socks, soap or car parts. My daughters directed me to the shop as they had colluded to purchase a book that I still haven’t seen.

On getting home, I was turfed out of my lounge room ahead of being given orders to stick to the kitchen. When my girls turned up in the kitchen themselves, they were looking for scissors, sticky tape and wrapping paper. I gave away plans to press through some homework. Their excited project gazumped our familiar schedule. Beyond the kitchen sounds I made while preparing dinner, I could make out the guarded yammer of two joyful girls who had a surprise to conceal.

By contrast, right now it is quiet. The girls are with their mum, and the concealed gift would be in full view, surrounded by scatterings of tape and discarded wrapping paper, but for being hidden in a shoe box that I had promised not to touch. I am frustrated by the piled shards of wrapping paper, yet can see the decorative quality, simply because it is a reminder of my two precious girls having had a wonderful night.


Unfortunately, there is an intrusion on my quiet surroundings. The recent statement by prominent psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg about a generation of crap parents plays on my mind. I am not worried that I meet Michael’s qualifications for crap parenting. I have a personal policy of not bothering with fault-finding or blame made of negative observations. Instead, I am supported by people who affirm and share parenting skills that best develop my daughters and me. Experience tells me that hearing of those things that craft crap parents makes for defensive conversation and does not add a great deal to developing qualities that make a wholesome dad.

In this quiet time, with my girls some distance away, I realise that I qualify for Father’s Day on account of being a parent; however, ‘Dad Day to My Girls’ is far more relevant and meaningful. I am not especially interested in the broad-brush criticism of crap parents.

Rather, I prefer to reflect on my efforts to hone my Dad role. There are things that I do – maybe that all dads do – that might seem small and incidental, yet I believe serves my girls really well.

I always walk my girls right to class. I expect that my girls ask for things using manners. On the way to school on the last morning of our weekend block together, we take it in turns to share our favourite awesome weekend things. We say a prayer together in that soft time just before sleep and gently reflect on our rich blessings. I talk up the kindness of specific behaviours, especially the eight-year-old’s insistence the other day that her teacher take her umbrella for after-school yard duty.

If Father’s Day is anything like all others, I won’t get to sleep in. The girls will bound out of bed early and swoop up the present from where they left it on the lounge room floor a few days ago before jumping triumphantly on my bed, yelling Dad’s Day wishes.


Photo by RDNE Stock Project.

About the Author: Greg McInerney

Greg is the father of two daughters.

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