Father's Day is fast approaching and my kids are asking me what I would like for a gift. This got me thinking about our relationship with the Heavenly Father. Like most fathers, He cares for his children. He bestows us with gifts and has given us a set of rules by which to guide our lives, the Ten Commandments. So I thought that an appropriate gift that my kids could give me would be to follow my own version of the Ten Commandments: the Ten Requests to Help Dad Keep his Sanity.
1. Thou shalt behave thyself when performing thy duties as an altar boy. Thou shalt brush your hair and teeth. Thou shalt not fidget with thy cincture. Thou shalt not play with the bells. Thou shalt not wear ratty running shoes underneath thy robes. Thou shalt not yawn.
2. Thou shalt be quiet when Dad tries to take a nap. Thou shalt not play with koosh balls on the stairs. Thou shalt not run the garage door up and down for no reason. Thou shalt not play with cap guns.
3. Thou shalt not assume that “maybe” means “yes.” Thou shalt not plan on going mini-putting, bowling, go-karting, to the movies, or to the skateboard park with certainty when I say “maybe.”
4. Thou shalt not borrow my tools without putting them back where they belong.
5. Thou shalt not recline thyself on the hood of my car. Truly, thou shalt remember to do your daily chores before taking a break.
6. Thou shalt not go “eewwww” or make a wrinkled nose after I have spent hours preparing a delicious dinner for you. Thou shall eat everything put before you. Thou shalt not attract the dog's attention while we are eating. Thou shalt not expect pizza for dinner every evening.
7. Thou shall complete the delivery of your papers in a timely manner. Thou needeth not to be reminded every hour to deliver your papers. Thou shalt not nag me to drive you on your route.
8. Thou shalt take the dog out for regular walks that last longer than two minutes. Thou shalt remember to bring along a plastic bag for the dog's droppings. Thou shalt not expect me to retrieve the dog's droppings. Thou shalt not provoke the dog into chasing the cat throughout the house.
9. Thou shalt not demand money of me to buy you everything you desire all the time. This includeth chocolate bars, potato chips, Nintendo games, trading cards, posters, sports equipment, and every other item on display in the local Wal-Mart.
9-1/2. Thou shalt not fight over who gets to sit in the front seat of the car. Thou shalt not argue over the amount of time I allow to play video games. Thou shalt not pick on each other over minor things like where to sit on the couch. Thou shalt not hide the television remote from thy brothers by pushing it between the cushions on the couch. Thou shalt not turn on “closed captioning” until such time as you are legally deaf.
9-3/4. Thou shalt not remember to do yesterday's homework five minutes before you leave for school in the morning. Thou shalt study hard every night in order to succeed.
9-7/8. Thou shall put thy things away and keep your rooms tidy. Thou shalt not leave your coats on the deacon's bench, or leave your shoes in the hall for them to be devoured by the dog. They shall be put in the hall closet. Thou shalt make thy beds without being asked every morning.
10. Thou shalt save a proper proportion of your money in the bank. Thou shalt not expect me to fund the full weight of your higher education. Thou shalt allow me enough savings of my own for a decent retirement.
Unlike the Heavenly Father, I reserve the right to amend and alter the above Requests. If children follow the Ten Requests, fathers the world over will enjoy a Happy Father's Day. Failing that, I could always use a nice new set of barbeque utensils.
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.