Knowl­edge IS POWER


New Zealand Woman’s Weekly - - DIRECTMALE -

Kids can be sober­ing. Be­fore I put fin­gers to the key­board for this week’s mis­sive, I asked my fam­ily what I should write about.

Our eight-year-old daugh­ter gazed up at the ceil­ing for in­spi­ra­tion and then suggested, “Why do peo­ple drink too much wine?”

It was said with­out mal­ice and very mat­ter-of-factly. She wasn’t try­ing to make a point, just pro­vide me with an ob­ser­va­tion I could use. She moved on im­me­di­ately, walk­ing off to herd her uni­corns and leav­ing me pon­der­ing my con­sump­tion.

I moved quickly from de­nial to anger: How dare my child ques­tion how much wine is the cor­rect amount! I was sure I’d never let her see me in a state of ine­bri­a­tion.

Af­ter some hon­est self­e­val­u­a­tion, I con­cluded she was merely re­peat­ing some­thing she had heard. And it was true. That very morn­ing Me­gan had asked me why I was mov­ing slowly and com­plain­ing about hav­ing a headache.

I had an­swered, “I think I had too much wine last night.”

I’d given my daugh­ter the line my­self! “Too much wine.” It then dawned on me as to why she thought it was a good sub­ject for anal­y­sis. She was per­plexed. Why would some­one know­ingly and de­lib­er­ately con­sume too much of any­thing?

When you’re in a restau­rant, you don’t say to the waiter, ”I’d like too much food, please.”

“And would sir like some wine with din­ner?”

“Ooh yes... too much pinot noir would be lovely.”

It’s non­sen­si­cal.

Armed with this blind­ingly ob­vi­ous logic from my eightyear-old, I have pledged to as­cer­tain more ac­cu­rately the amount of fer­mented grape juice that’s the cor­rect amount to con­sume in fu­ture.

My five-year-old also struck me dumb re­cently as I was try­ing to get her and her sis­ter to bed.

We were en­joy­ing a con­ver­sa­tion rang­ing from uni­corn poo to how much slime is enough, when my eight-year-old said it was a shame I had only just got­ten home from work and we hadn’t spent much time to­gether.

Miss Five then stated, “But that’s okay, Dad, be­cause money is more im­por­tant than hugs.”

‘Thunk!’ went the dag­ger to my heart. I’m not a bad par­ent. I’m not! But I felt the guilt. I also made the mis­take of telling my wife what had hap­pened and my kids over­heard me.

They may be young, but they know a pow­er­ful weapon when they find one.

Now they con­trol me. When­ever they want me to do any­thing and I am re­sist­ing, they sim­ply play the bad dad card. “Can we go to the park, Dad?” “Not right now, I’m just busy with some work.”

“Oh, that’s okay. Emails are more im­por­tant than time with your chil­dren.”

Pause. “Get in the car.”

Catch Jeremy on ThePro­ject on Three, week­nights at 7pm.

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