“The Dad Voice” by Chris Zito

At only five years old, Vince has already mastered the art of tuning out his parents. His mother is virtually powerless over this condition. Me, I have a secret weapon. The Dad Voice!


With only my tone I transform into this guy right before Vince’s eyes.

I’ve mentioned in this space before how much I love an empty threat. The fact that my five year-old still has no idea they’re empty makes it all the sweeter. But the clock is ticking. A few more months, a year at the outside, he’ll figure out that just because I sound like an Army General doesn’t mean I know what I’m going to do next if he disobeys me. This will come as a real shock to my grown children but like most fathers, I sort of played it by ear, made it up as I went along, sometimes didn’t have a clue.


Most Dads feel more like W than Patton on the inside.

We try to foster good manners in our house. My wife received the “most courteous” award in the third grade and is a big believer in please and thank you in even the most familiar circumstances. We have the most civil love-making of any American couple I’m sure.
“Could you please put your hand right here.”
“Why of course.”
“Thank you so much. ”
“You’re welcome I’m sure.”


We try to be as patient and courteous with each other as we
are with a bank teller. Without ending up in the sack, of course.

Because of all the politeness flying around the house Vince gets a “please” whenever I ask him to do something.
“Please put your shoes on, son,” I’ll say in a calm even tone.  At present he gets three of these before I on put on the mirror sunglasses and make like a State Trooper.
“Shoes. ON!”


Step out of the tricycle, please.

OKAY! he whines in that tone kids commonly give fathers in a vain attempt to make us feel like there’s no need for the Dad Voice. I know differently. I’ve had 30 years to perfect the thing. I ain’t stoppin’ now!

Thanks for reading. Tell your pals.
Chris Zito

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