18th March 2022

Being a father of two and the occasional step father to many, I can confirm there are certain sentences that when spoken aloud by a spouse cause an otherwise fearless soul’s blood to run cold.

Some of the most disarming, cruel, guilt laying statements are inclined to start with the seemingly harmless line, “I don’t think that is in the least possible, or practical, but why don’t you ask your Da?” Closely followed by a litany of potent impracticalities, excruciatingly expensive gift ideas, and promises of activities only possible or safe within the boundaries of La La land!  The only worse scenario is a promise from a sibling or cousin to their offspring that their favorite uncle or aunt will magnanimously make all hills run downwards and the ocean a very comfortable temperature of eighty degrees all year round.

As parents, guardians, carers, we are inclined to pass the buck consistently to any available victim, especially those we are particularly attached too. Nothing is more difficult, more heart rending than having to refuse a child anything, particularly when the cause of the denial has little to do with anything but a shortfall of time, capital, or inclination. So much easier to make the brunt of the failure another individuals. Unkind, inconsiderate, yes most certainly, but at the drop of the hat a most satisfactory solution.

By all means shout me down for being painfully sardonic, harsh, overly judgmental, for laying such a grievous charge against anyone. But I will happily admit to having earned many such imputations myself, handing the ball blatantly to another knowing full well a most violent tackle will descend upon their person with immediacy.

There is a streak of wickedness that runs through us all, except for the most saintly, and even they may upon occasion be found rather sadly lacking. We all were children once and bear the scars of every refusal we considered unfairly pronounced and let’s be honest that was every single one. Children are quite rightly unscrupulously self-centered. For it is their task to consistently practice in preparation for being fine well-adjusted adults.

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