Friday, 28 September 2012

Eagles and shears

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend my best friend's wedding in Spain and was honoured to do a reading during the ceremony.  When I was first asked to do a reading, my instinct was to say no.  But one thing I've learnt is that when your instinct is no, that's when you should say yes.  So stood there on the day with a microphone in my hand and a 101 expectant eyes upon me (there was a strange local at the back) my hand began to shake and I broke out into a sweat.  It wasn't pretty, but I did it.  And afterwards I felt proud of myself.  

So where does this silly story fit in with modern parenting?  Well, the point is that I'm a risk-taker.  I was raised with little regard to street cred or decency.  I wore my brother's hand-me down corduroy trousers.  My mum used a basin to cut my hair - still does when I can't get an appointment at the salon.  In fact, no word of a lie - when my fringe grew too long in my teenage years, my dad cut my hair with a pair of garden shears.  I was taught to swim by being thrown headfirst into the icy Atlantic by my father somewhere just off the coast of the Isles of Scilly.  If only 6 miles of dense seaweed could talk.  

If using the shears makes your child's fringe look wonky, a tastefully sequinned
hat will draw the  eye away from the problem area
But perversely, these days I silently (can't quite bring myself to say it out loud) thank my dad.  Because not being treated like a princess is the best thing you can do for your daughters (and your sons, come to think of it.)

If we wrap our children up and smother them, they will grow up to be the sort of people who say no.  Now, I know we were taught by Grange Hill to just say no, but not everything is about drugs, you sordid lot.  The point is that we want to raise a generation of 'yes'-ers: people who rise to the occasion, take risks, seize the day. 

Therefore this week at the Cushy Parent, I'm advising the following: 

 1) kid can't swim?  Save money on expensive one-to-one lessons at the local spa - chuck them in the sea, preferably on a cold day.  If they don't have a stroke or seize up with cramp, they may have a crack at being an Olympic athlete in the future so bear that in mind.

2) Kid moaning about their hair?  Tell them they're lucky that their dad isn't a gardener.  And that you don't own any bowls.

So that's it from me.  Next week we'll be taking this issue a little further by exploring the intriguing subject of Daughter Protection.  Or in other words: how to dress your daughter head to toe in pink and guard her at the local park as though she is pink fluff that will blow away when the wind turns.

Until then, take care - not in a clingy overprotective way though.  And just say yes.

Cath Weeks is author of The Mood Ring.

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