Skip to main content

Mendo Lake Family Life

Interpreting Dad’s Stance

By Shannon Carpenter

In honor of Father’s Day, Family Life’s resident stay-at-home dad explains some standard Pop poses …

Classic Yard Stance Hands on hips with khaki yardwork shorts sagging in back, the “classic” is seen every spring weekend. Accompanied by oversized sunglasses to help dad feel he’s still cool but a wide-brimmed hat confirming otherwise, this dad stance bodes the question: What is Dad thinking about? There is only one correct answer: The Roman Empire. 

Where’s My Tools? Stance Arms crossed in his garage, Dad stares at a lonely Phillips head screwdriver. Where is the rest of the set he got for Christmas? They were here just a minute ago! The slotted screwdriver, the hexagonal screwdriver, and the weird little jeweler’s screwdriver are all gone. No, it is not possible that Dad didn’t put his tools back where they belonged. It had to be one of the children. But which one? It’s best if he just sits back and thinks about the Roman Empire before hashing out this mystery. 

The Past Curfew Stance Oh, you’ve done messed up now. The clock reads 12:01 a.m. and you were not home. You walk in to find Dad not in a stance at all, but sitting. There is no sound, the room is dark, and Dad appears calm but your defenses go up. You check your phone, now it’s 12:02 a.m. How long will you be grounded for causing your father such worry and heartache? His life is harmed every second you are late. The visions that haunted him will last a lifetime. It’s best to distract him by asking about the Roman Empire. 

Arms Wide Open Stance Your heart beats faster as you see your Dad stand tall. Every time you go out, this happens. And it happens with everyone you have met since the day you were born. It’s so embarrassing. Dad doesn’t care that he wears black socks with sandals. He pays no attention to the cuts and scrapes on his arms he got retrieving your favorite toy from behind the thorn bush. What he does care about is telling everyone how awesome you are. To anyone within earshot, the speech begins, “Let me tell you about my kid: Friends, Romans, Countrymen—my kid found my screwdriver today.” 

Take on a Tornado Stance The weather turns foul and clouds begin to circle. Tornado alarms have started. Dad stands on his front porch, calm as a Roman soldier heading into battle. Deep down, he knows he can’t take on a tornado. At the same time, this is his family, and they are scared. Fists balled next to his sides, he thinks he could tackle a tornado if he had to. Dads can do anything because their kids believe they can. Lasso the moon, ride the wind, tackle a tornado. He breathes deep, gives up the thought, and instead uses those wide arms to hug his kids. That stance keeps them safe during scary times. 

Shannon Carpenter is a professional humorist and the author of The Ultimate Stay-at-Home Dad: Your Essential Manual for Being an Awesome Full-Time Father.