Fatherly Advice

Fathers Day graphic
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

People who have done things a long time feel an obligation to pass on what they know to those who come after them so as a veteran father, I feel obligated to pass on what I know about that.

You new dads won't need it -- the kids adore you and think you know everything and the truth is new moms do most of the work so just stay out of the way, stand by for directed assignments and pay the bills. It's easier on everyone.

It's those later years when you'll need help and understanding. Those years when you have evolved from the world's foremost authority to an embarrassment to the family.

I remember the first boy-girl party at my house. Mom got compliments on her dress. My instructions were, "Dad, just try to act normal."

This is the time to put the clown suit away. No father has ever come up with a joke that made a teenager laugh. Don't even try.

As you've heard a hundred times, just hang in there. Before long, they'll be telling you once more how smart you are -- even if they don't believe it -- because they've discovered it's a good strategy to get what they need.

Or maybe just because they love you -- which is usually the case.

In any case, the best strategy for you is to believe it is because they love you, because from there on, it is important for you to stay on good terms with them -- they're the ones who'll be picking the nursing home.

So have a great day. Just remember to act normal and to be on the safe side, pick up the check.

That's always a crowd pleaser.

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By Bob Schieffer