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Happy Father's Day.

As for me, I'm getting more comfortable with the idea of making demands on my children -- ages 8, 6 and 4.

This Father's Day, and for all the rest to come, here's what they can give me:

I want each of them to stop acting like an only child, and learn to share everything with their siblings, including their parents' time and attention;

I want them to get out of their heads this corrosive idea that the world revolves around them, and all that matters at any given moment of the day is what they want, need or feel; and

I want them to treat people better, starting with their family members, and then moving on to complete strangers, and not look down on anyone -- ever.

Of course, the rub is that this is what parents are for. It's our job to instill these values and teach children how to become good people. It doesn't happen organically. And it won't happen magically. It'll only happen if we set the standards and and lay down the law when they're not met.

And fathers have a special role to play in all of this. It's not easy being a good dad. In fact, it's exhausting. And it can often be frustrating.

In fact, frankly, a lot of fathers decide it is too hard. They give up, check out, hang back and essentially let their kids raise themselves. It's one of the reasons why we got into this mess.

The only way out is for fathers to get back in the game. We have to be present in our children's lives. Forget about being their friends. They have friends. They need fathers.

We have to be in our kids' faces, just like Grandpa and Dad used to be. And for the same reason -- because we care enough not to be anywhere else.

Happy Father's Day.

- Ruben Navarrette, 'Fathers, stop coddling your kids.'


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