If I could give just one piece of advice this Father's Day to the fathers around the world, it would be this. Lie to your children. Don't give them a straight answer to anything. When they ask you questions with straightforward answers, throw them curve balls.
Why? They absolutely love it. At various times in their lives, my children have been convinced that hippopotamuses require a special counting system, that people in Sweden don't wear clothes, that there are fire-breathing dragons still living in the mountains of Italy, and that the Minnesota Vikings will one day win the Super Bowl. Okay, perhaps that last lie is a little bit too cruel.
But there is nothing that speaks more of family than sitting at a dinner table where the father is calmly eating his dinner, the children are screaming with laughter, and the wife is rolling her eyes with a hint of a smile on her lips. It is a father's job to protect his children, and allowing them to preserve their childish joy and innocence as long as possible is one of the greatest gifts a man can give them.
They won't remember how you paid the bills. They won't remember how you taught them to read or disciplined them. But they'll absolutely remember every stupid, silly thing you told them when they were small and their eyes will light up when they do. And you know without even asking that a man is a father when a little girl he's never met before walks up to him as he sits on a park bench and asks him if it's true that people in Sweden don't wear clothes.
"Well, of course not," he answered without batting an eye, despite the t-shirt he was wearing which said "Sverige" on it. And when confronted with the evidence that he was, in fact, wearing clothes at the moment despite being Swedish, he wasn't lost for an immediate response.
"But we're not in Sweden now, are we? If we were in Sweden, then of course we wouldn't be wearing any clothes! Imagine that! Wearing clothes in Sweden?"
After the interrogation was complete and the interrogator ran off to the slide, I asked him how many kids he had. "Three," he replied. I'd never seen him before and I haven't seen him since, but I have absolutely no doubt that he's a great dad. Happy Father's Day to him and all the other dads out there.