Saturday, July 02, 2011

The uses of magic

Being a dad can be frustrating sometimes. Johnny now watches CITV more than the BBC children's channels, and I've been getting polite but continuous requests for the much advertised Bey Blades. And he brings back reading books as homework from school every day - plus two for the weekend - and that's been turning into a mutually dreaded ordeal.

So I was thinking I needed to take a step back and come up with a better way. So I drew a pentagram on a scrap of paper, numbering arms from one to five, and inscribing the initials "BB" in the middle. I then explained to Johnny that each time he read his homework book without flopping or wailing he'd get a sticker on one arm of the star, and when he'd got one on all five arms, we would go out and buy a Bey Blade. He was horrified by this quandary and resourcefully suggested several alternative ways he could earn the stars, which I politely declined.

I would just like to record that by the time we got to the fourth and fifth homework sessions he was snatching the book out of my hands, refusing to let me read it through first, and confidently and proudly reading it aloud. (And today will be shopping day)

Am I proud of stooping to bribery and succumbing to commercial advertising? Not really, but I don't care about that. Johnny's education, and our relationship, are more important, and I'm pleased I worked that out. Could I have come up with a smarter solution? Well, yes, I'm sure and any suggestions gratefully received. Meanwhile, I will gratefully continue to learn whatever it is those who teach learn from those they teach.

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