Tuesday, 27 January 2009

On Self-respect


"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."

Thus, apparently, complained Aristotle and evidently things haven't changed in the intervening millennia. But this isn't a post about my children, though they are involved, it is a post about dignity.

Like all loving parents who can, my wife and I provide freshly cooked nutritious meals for our children, and they in turn look at the food before them and, before the plate even touches the table, utter through their wrinkled noses the predictable:

"Eew, what is this? I don't like it!"

which in turn is met with the traditional: "You haven't even tasted it. How can you say that?"

to which: "It looks disgusting, I won't eat it"

and my: "That's all there is for dinner. You'll eat your stew"

and a battle of wills ensues which I sometimes lose and sometimes win.

I had cycled home through the rain and was utterly soaked down to my underwear when all this was happening and I was not best predisposed to engage in positive parenting psychology. I was aware of this and so I tried to approach this with the positive presence of mind of someone who nevertheless knows deep in their heart that this won't work and I've had it up to here with this nonsense.

As I am standing dripping in the kitchen I begin to undress all the while trying to convince my kids to at least try the stew. I even went over and had a spoonful myself, theatrically espousing the virtues of the dish:

"Yummy, this is delicious and so good for you. Can I have some, Paula?"

The kids don't buy this and start getting up. "No, I hate stew"

I take off my soaking pants and put them in the washing machine. "OK, you don't have to eat your dinner if you don't want to, but there is nothing else for you. Not even a banana"

I take off my wet underpants and socks and stuff them in the washing machine, too. The kids walk over to the fruit bowl and take some bananas. I sense that the situation is deteriorating rapidly.

"Put that back, I said. You'll eat your dinner first"

I walk towards my boy who makes a run for it. Instinctively I chase him round the house, he's running up the stairs. I follow yelling "GIVE ME THE BANANA, YOUNG MAN".

It was then that the absurdity of the situation hit me.

To a casual onlooker this would have been a very odd sight indeed: Imagine you're looking through the window, you would see a deranged and dishevelled man, wearing only a t-shirt, completely naked from the waist down chasing a small child and yelling something about a banana.

This caused me to roll about on the floor in fits of laughter, at the thought and the insanity of it all.

My son re-appeared in front of me eating his banana and pointing at my exposed arse and laughing hysterically. Then my little girl joins in and finally my wife, too.

And I wonder why my kids have no respect for me, it's because I have no self-respect.

No comments:

Post a Comment