Meet the world’s greatest dad

Jeff Vrabel

What qualifies you to be the world’s greatest dad?

Well, first of all, I have a coffee mug that says it, so it must be true. Ha! Just kidding. My kid made this for me in art camp one year. It’s a little old-looking now, and I had to plug a couple of holes in the bottom when I first got it, but otherwise it matches my monogrammed sweater from Father’s Day 2001 and it works just fine. Don’t tell anyone, OK?

You’ve figured out this parenting thing. What disqualifies someone from being the world’s greatest dad?

That’s actually an easier question than you might think. If you find yourself running up and down the sideline at a soccer match while shouting repeatedly, you’re out. If you’ve ever compelled your 6-year-old to lie on television as part of some sort of numb-skulled reality television pitch, you’re out. If you routinely find yourself saying you can’t do things because “the game is on,” you’re out. If you can’t bring yourself to simulate one lousy little tea party with a table full of stuffed friends and colleagues, that’ll count against you.

What advice would you give to other aspiring world’s greatest dads?

Well, I think first I’d say “bring it on.” There’s not a whole lot wrong with a bunch of people striving to become better fathers. I would say first that whatever little problems you have at work, whatever’s wrong with traffic, whatever the hardware store didn’t have last weekend — those aren’t very big deals at all. Make sure you’re keeping in mind what are and are not actual problems. Read books a lot. Try to keep a really complicated remote in the house so the kids get easily confused by it and go do something else. Play them good music, get them fresh food. It’s all pretty common-sense stuff; you just have to make sure it’s in the front of your mind. You’ll have to get up pretty early in the morning to take this mug from me, fellas.