April 5th, 2010

Where’s My Job Description

Lisa Kerr

“Parenting is the most important job you’ll ever have.”  I hear this all the time; people waxing poetic about the importance of raising good children.  They’re our future, you know.

No pressure.

I find it ironic that the world’s most important job has the world’s most indefinite job description.  There’s no handbook, no instructions, no boundaries and very little regulation.  Kids learning to work the fry machine at McDonald’s get more job training than parents.  Oh sure, plenty of people have opinions about how it should be done.  Millions of books filled with opinions, most of which contradict one another.  Every decision is subjective, there is never a clear cut set of actions and consequences and the outcome is never predictable. I’d prefer something concrete.  Like the owner’s manual that comes with your car, which, by the way, is a far less complicated machine than a living breathing child.

Something like:

Congratulations on becoming a parent!  Follow these simple steps and yours will be a happy, well-adjusted and successful child:

1.  Feed child a, b, and occasionally c.

2.  Instruct child to do x,y and z.

3.  Never under any circumstance do l,m,or n.

If you have any questions, please call 1-888-WTF KIDS for customer service.

I mean, can you imagine if other “important jobs” had the same ambiguity as parenting?

“Gee Doctor Bob, I’m a little nervous about performing surgery today.  This is my first heart transplant, you know.”

“Don’t worry about it Doctor Bill.  Just go with your instincts.  None of us are perfect; we’re all just doing the best we can.  Try one approach, and if that doesn’t work out, try something different.  It’s important to be flexible.  And if anything goes wrong, remember – it’s not your fault.”

“Phew, thanks Doctor Bob.  Just knowing that there’s someone that understands how I feel makes me feel much more confident.  Especially since there’s nothing I’ve ever done in my entire that has remotely prepared me for this.  Let’s scrub up.”

Good luck, Doctors.  If you need me, I’ll be working the fry machine at McDonalds.

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