3am Monday 25 June 2012 Nunhead Heights.
The late, and sorely missed, Osama bin Laden offered to buy one of his sons a pony if he did well on his school exams.
If a man who could get other men to kill themselves has to bribe his child with a horse then what hope does any parent have?
Sunday morning my children refused to get dressed and go to the Science Museum with me. It was one of the rare times when I have them all day and I wanted to do something. Museum, city farm, crack house. Even a trip on the 343 bus to the mall at Elephant and Castle. Anything.
The oldest (aged 11), Mini-Lew or the Sensible One, is a reader. He has decided the only muscles he wants to use are his eyes.
His younger brother (aged 9), the Wild One, wants to hang with his big brother. His brother is the most important man in his life. Possibly the most important person in his life.
They dug their heels in and it was getting nasty.
People say parents should never, ever, smack a child. I’m one of them. “You should never, ever, smack a child.”
If I controlled every area of their lives, or most of their lives, or even some of their lives, I’m sure I could get them to do what I wanted. Or some of what I wanted. I could stop their tv, computer gaming, book reading, sweety or ice cream intake until they knew I meant business.
But I don’t have control.
My boys run to their mother and she over-rules me. If your marriage is hell, try being divorced. Divorced is worse. If you think the mother doesn’t respect you now, just imagine if she hates your guts ’cause you supposedly lied to her about being a successful comic when you met her in New York.
A lot of parents don’t feel they have control of their children.
Over the last few years I was so scared of losing the little time I had with my children I let them do whatever they wanted. My children forgot to be afraid of me.
Children need to believe there is a line in the sand with their parents and if they cross it something very bad is going to happen to them. They have to listen to their parents or there will be consequences. And the big consequences are either rejection or physical harm.
In the real world, if you give lip to a man twice your size you are risking your life. There is only so far regular people can be pushed before they do harm. Children must learn this if they are going to live, let alone be good citizens.
They will wail that they’re going to call Social Services. Any child stupid enough to call the Social Services isn’t smart enough to be in your life.
Last year, the very English comedian Michael McIntyre did a routine on this very subject: How a parent has to put the fear of death in his children to get them to do anything.
“If you don’t go to sleep I will personally kill you.” he tells his child in the joke as he skipped across the stage in Bristol, Somerset, to a theatre audience of West Country folk and a tv audience of millions of Middle Englanders.
Here was a comic threatening a child with murder on prime-time British TV and I didn’t hear of a complaint. If Frankie Boyle or Jimmy Carr had said it I can imagine the uproar. No one considers Michael McIntyre the slightest bit edgy or even mildly subversive. But they are very, very, wrong about Michael McIntrye.
And that is why Michael Mcintyre is the best comic in Britain today.
PS: Osama Bin Laden could have learned something from Michael McIntyre. And my children will listen to me when I see them again, at a Contact Centre under the supervision of their council-appointed child guardian.
Tell me what you think of this: Rubbish, brilliant, obvious, nasty, incomplete, something else. Leave a comment. It’ll be appreciated.
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