Forget NCEA success, which primary school you get your kids into or whether they can tie a shoelace (a what?!). I reckon the heaviest responsibility on parents these days is whether or not their perfect progeny have an appreciation for good music.
I was in the shower the other day when youngest daughter Izzy, 4, wandered in to clean her teeth singing "Sexy and I know it." Except in her beautiful world, it was more "Sacksee and a nar wit". Never have I been happier than in this singular butchering of lyrics.
Got me thinking though. Her older sister Abby recently bought her first album - some awful, heavily-produced tripe called "One Direction". She played it on repeat, bringing tears to my eardrums and taking me back to those horrible days of Boyz II Men, the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block.
My knowledge of current pop music isn't great - is it true Harry Styles is related to Gangnam Styles? (Though according to the interweb, Gangnam style is something to do with Christmas?)
In the sheltered, antisocial world of parenthood and with a broken car stereo, exposure to the latest trends is largely limited, ironically, to the whims of my daughters and a few legendary Facebook links.
On an all-too-rare social outing recently, I got into a discussion with another dad about the merits of Katy Perry (he also has a daughter). To our horror, we both discovered that we kind of liked her music, though in deference to the great bands of our youth, we must never admit it. Our secret's safe with me, Cam.
I guess every generation, sadly, has a Justin Bieber. And every generation has hordes of bourbon-swilling red-necks wanting to lynch a Justin Bieber.
Everyone makes musical mistakes. Thanks to some brothers going through a black-shirts-and-bogun phase, I grew up with a taste for Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, which led easily into the joys of Pearl Jam.
But then, in eerie shades of my daughter, the first CD (a what?!) I ever bought was Icehouse - Man of Colours. Go figure.
As part of the enormous parental responsibility, however, I put together some compilation CDs when the girls were young. As a result, they love the Beatles, have an appreciation of Ben Harper and, at a pinch, don't run from the room shrieking when they hear that monumental first minute of Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Hear.
Thanks to the epic dancing scenes, middle daughter Sophie also loves this instant classic by Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeros - watch it, you'll be transfixed.
Now all three are learning to play the piano and despite their horrific paternal genetics, actually seem to have an ear for it. Hope for musical enlightenment sprints eternal.
- Essential Mums