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.