One of the best parts about being a dad is both embarrassing them and teaching them a lesson at the same time.
One of my favorite ones to pull is what I call “The Elevator Rush.”
It begins with walking through a parking lot or getting into a lobby and seeing people in the elevator as the door begins to close. Wait till the door is past “saving,” then pretend to freak, yell something like "oh no!" and run toward the closing elevator, always knowing:
A) the people inside would never catch it to reopen it in time
B) you were too far away to catch it yourself, you'd never have made it anyway
In that moment of the elevator door closing and seeing the look on the strangers faces as they try to either hit the button or put their hand in front of the censor, you win by embarrassing your kid because you’ve become the awkward, desperate Dad. Your children will be mortified by this sudden, public outburst of a clearly already lost cause.
You also teach them a lesson in not taking yourself too seriously. The feeling you just instilled in those elevator people will create a memory for them as well. Their thoughts will wander to: “Why did that guy think he could make it?” Or “He seemed so needy for it.”
The trick is to clearly become a dude that you'd laugh about the second the door closes.
Or you make them feel like assholes, which is also funny because sometimes everyone should be reminded of that feeling.
In the rare occurrence that they do indeed catch the elevator in time, laugh it off and say “Ah never mind” and NEVER GET ON.
Teach your kids the art of not over doing it and killing a joke. This element of denying the open elevator will also embarrass them because over the repeated times you do this, they will have become used to you never getting on in time. Create a pattern where they’ll never have the expectation of the door being saved. In doing this, they won't expect the rare time that the door is saved and especially you’re cavalier “never mind” attitude. To them, it's never gotten to this place where the strangers do actually catch the door. You'll blow you’re kid’s minds with pure confusion.
This is a slow burn, long running joke that you can never let them in on. One day, when you’re old and they have children of their own, the real pay off for you will occur when you see them do it to their kids. The question is: did they finally get the joke, or have they been ingrained in your behavior and now actually try to catch the closing door?
In 30 years, let me know.