Job Description for Three-Year Old Boys: Why an APA Committee Rejected It

Adults often think they positively reinforce youngsters when they say “good job.” The psychological harm of equating positive behavior with work aside, the American Psychological Association (APA) has studied what a three-year-old boy’s job description should be. The committee charged with unveiling a final draft to standardize expectations offered the following:
                                JOB DESCRIPTION: Civilized Three-Year-Old

Job Summary: The job of the aspiring civilized three-year-old boy consists of learning and performing responsibilities and duties to please his nuclear family and earn plaudits from others.

Primary Responsibilities and Duties

Doing a good job, the civilized three-year-old boy will . . .
• Pee and poop in a toilet;
• Refrain from showing everybody his wiener;
• Sleep in own bed or space;
• Eat vegetables and fruit, on occasion;
• Listen and respond, sometimes;
• Stay clean, and keep others clean;
• Speak when spoken to, generally;
• Obey and respect authority figures, particularly parents;
• Learn to show feelings and affection, until getting a real job;
• Interact well with, and cause no harm to, siblings and peers;
• Show disposition to learn, things parents want you to learn;
• Avoid pouting, biting, hitting, and name-calling;
• Accept time-outs when caught doing the above;
• Turn the other cheek — facial cheek– when necessary;
• Interact well with playmates, especially less fortunate ones;
• Treat girls with respect; they won’t always be yucky;
• Act angelic in front of others – acting is good negotiating life.

Qualifications and Skills – Mental Skills

Doing a good job, the civilized three-year-old boy will have learned to . . .
• Use 200 or more words;
• Avoid swear words or dirty words;
• Recognize at least half the letters of the alphabet;
• Avoid putting them together to spell bad words;
• Start to connect letters to their sounds;
• Avoid asking which letters sound out bodily functions;
• String together three- or four-word sentences;
• Avoid sentences that selfishly demand things;
• Count to three and know most numbers up to 10;
• Avoid mimicking authority figure counting to three to modify behavior;
• Make about 75% of what you say understandable;
• Avoid making parents wish they understood you less.

Desirable Qualifications and Skills – Motor Skills

Doing a good job, the civilized three-year-old boy should show progress . . .
• Walking a line, straighter than dad’s last sobriety check;
• Balancing on a low beam, without seeking dangerous heights;
• Skipping or galloping, outside;
• Walking backward, without harming self or others;
• Pedaling a tricycle, without going faster than mom driving;
• Catching a large ball, in hands and not face;
• Jumping with two feet, not onto breakable things or grandparents.

Salary and Benefits

• Room and Board
• Allowance Negotiable
• Entertainment Provided
• Plentiful Vacation Time
• Naps, Snacks, Playtime
• Constant Adoration

This draft was rejected. The APA called it a reach since the just defeated President of the United States, a myriad of other spotlighted public figures, and a good deal of American men in general, all much older than three, couldn’t measure up.

Author: Ken Hogarty

Ken Hogarty was an English teacher and high school principal in another life. Since, he has had short stories, a memoir, news-features and over twenty satires and comedy pieces published. He lives with his wife Sally near Oakland. [415.760-8045] PO Box 84, Canyon, CA. 94516

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