I have the great joy and pleasure to have two sons. They are just like pets, except that you will never have them house trained. They are like a blank canvas, ready to be painted by a crazed artist, I mean parent. It feels as if there is a built in need to make your offspring better people than you were. In some cases, it really isn’t that difficult.
The world they are growing up in is so different to when I was a child that it can be hard to put myself in their place. I shudder to think how I would have turned out if the internet had been around when I was a boy. It probably wouldn’t have ended well. I remember learning to type on an old typewriter, placing a sheet of paper over the keys so I could learn to touch type without relying on looking at the keys. I was in my mid teens. My children can already type on a computer keyboard.
Today is very different from then 1970s, when I grew up. When I grew up, there wasn’t so much political correctness, the world was a much bigger place, and there was still too much racism. While I miss the opportunity to be politically incorrect (like that has ever stopped me), I am happy that my kids will grow up not thinking that one person is better or worse than another simply because of the colour of their skin. They seem to understand that people are just like cars. If you have two Ferrari 430s, one in red and one in green, underneath they have the same engine, the same seats, the same everything. You can get a Ferrari 430 Scuderia which is faster, leaner and cooler but it can still come in any colour. My eldest son, Rhys, who is 7 and may know more about cars than I do, totally understands this concept although he would prefer it to be Porsches instead.
Manners are something that sometimes comes naturally, sometimes need to be taught. We do use gentle reminders when either boy forgets his P’s and Q’s but in general they are very well spoken. I have no idea where they get this from. It must be the grand parents.
At the opposite end of the scale, swearing is something that is inevitable. They hear the words in the school yard, if they watch something accidentally on the internet or television. I learnt the bad words the same way, friends using swear words to seem more mature at school. We probably didn’t know what the words meant, just that they were very bad. We had a moment with our children when we asked them to tell us, without consequences, what bad words they knew. Our youngest, sweet innocent (hahaha) 6 year old Dylan came out with the ‘F’ word straight away. That was a shocker! Rhys countered with…. wait for it…. ass. Yep, gotta love my kids. We explained to them that even if they know bad words, they must not use them in front of teachers or grown ups. The problem that I will have with Rhys is that when he eventually uses a bad word, he will inevitably use it within the correct context which makes it a little hard to complain.
In many ways, I think that children growing up today are faced with many more opportunities as well as many more temptations and challenges than I had to face growing up. Hopefully I can point them in the right direction and watch them sail off into the sunset, rather than being taken by the Kraken!