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DADS KNOW THEIR ROLE - TO BE LARGER THAN LIFE

Fathering carries with it a reverence and respect that comes with the job. Maybe it stems from viewing a man so tall he doesn't need a stool to get to the toilet, watching an individual so smart he can get a car started by rolling it down a hill, or seeing a person so brave he will go into a dark basement by himself to change a fuse.

For most children the mystique of dads carries on into their adult lives. Mothers? Kids got their number early. They spend a lot of time with them and know what buttons to push, how to manipulate them and what they can get away with. Not fathers.For example, don't even think of buying your dad a cup of coffee and a danish. He will snatch that check away faster than you can say, "But Dad, I'm vice president of Microsoft, for crying out loud." I'm willing to bet that Ross Perot and Barry Diller can't buy their dads a cup of coffee and a danish.

Never tell your dad what kind of a car to buy. This is because when he looks at you, he doesn't see a 36-year-old man; he sees a 9-year-old kid who couldn't change a bicycle tire. Why should he take advice from you? You are still wet behind the ears and don't know anything.

No matter how old the child becomes, he will never catch up to his father.

Some kids try to top them. That's a big mistake. You think you've endured hardships? They're nothing compared to the blizzard of '32, when dads walked 12 miles (this increases during the years) in the snow and nearly froze to death to get to school.

Never drop a high fly ball. Ever. Dad may not remember what he had for lunch, but he will recall in great detail the day you kept saying, "I got it! I got it!" and you didn't have it.

Criticizing your father is not smart. Even though you are right and he is wrong, you'll be the one who ends up feeling rotten. He can criticize your friends, neckties, major in school, hair, where you spend your money and your eating habits. But just happen to mention to him that he's getting a spare tire and maybe a little exercise would help, and you're out of the conversation and out of the will.

Why are dads like this? From the moment you were born they have known their roles - to be a strong force in your life. That's why they must remain larger than you, smarter than you and give you someone to emulate - if they do it right.