True, their Dad was never the President, but in these parts (read: 24 counties), everybody knows Dad. And while there are thousands of kind and loyal viewers who bestow honors and fill out Nielsen books faithfully and think he's "all that," there are those who criticize everything from ties to hair to comments made during transitions.
I'd be remiss to say the kids always took the "famous" hype humbly, but they were, in fact, kids. Selfish in nature (seriously, aren't we all?), they name-dropped when it was to their advantage, and the boys, in particular, sported a certain swagger when it came to that pretty-girl-pick-up line.
Expections were a bit higher for them, because after all, Dad holds a position of respect in the community. Some of them (boys, you shall remain nameless) took full advantage of pushing the envelope, thinking they were above the law and that Dad's connections would allow them to do exactly as they pleased. That's when Bad Cop (aka, me) stepped in and was the first to utter "Book 'em, Danno."
The Father of Second-Shift Guilt was not the disciplinarian in the House of Steele.
At the end of the day, it's important that people recognize what "being famous" means at our house.
It means you get invited to parties and events by people you don't even know.
It means people are offended if you don't know them, because they know you and really, don't you see them every day?
It means your skin gets really, really thick from the criticism (like the woman who shot off a nasty email when he said "Our new President Barack Obama" instead of "President Barack Obama..."). Geesh.
It means your sons get all the girls and the guys are scared to date your daughter (and rightly so).
It means you don't go to Home Depot, Hy-Vee, or the mall without a thousand greetings from perfect strangers (and people still recognize you in a hooded sweatshirt).
It means yes, you really are shorter in person than you appear on TV.
BUT, also, at least in our house:
It means you put your pants on, one leg at a time, just like everybody else.
It means you have feelings, dreams, and visions for your family, just like everybody else.
It means you walk around with a hole in the seat of the pants of your expensive suits from carrying your Bible with you. Every. Single. Day.
It means you love attending personal events (graduations, funerals, weddings) of families you have featured in stories that ripped at your heart.
It means your humility and respect for others trumps every bit of anger, cynicism, and pride that ever welled up inside of you.
It means you speak very kind things about your wife to anyone who cares to listen, even though she is often not deserving (remember, she's Bad Cop).
It means you spend hours editing a video about your dog before he goes to the Rainbow Bridge, because when he goes, you know your heart will be too broken to focus on the task.
And in your heart, it means the most important status that was ever granted to you is that of "Dad." And those people who call you that are the most important people in the world to you (well, them, and Bad Cop)
In the end, my kids have a lot to learn from this, and I pray they will remember who their dad really is in his heart and dismiss the salty few of those half million viewers who think he is someone he is not.
Tea today: Green with lemongrass