Monday, 29 February 2016

How do you talk to your kids about the hardest things?

Sex, death, mean people, bullies, tax, drugs...all these things are difficult to explain to your children, and sometimes uncomfortable for a parent to speak about. Hard to get it right, and I wonder if many get it spot on. But how do you tell your children about the hardest thing of all? Politics.

Analogies work, sometimes.

This is want I want to say:

Dad: People say the freedom to vote is a double-edged sword, boys, but it's not. Not really. Imagine, instead, that the public...

Children: Public?

Dad: People, boys. Human people, people of a nation.

Children: But aren't we all people? 

Dad: Yes, well...but we're our people, so we don't have to worry about all the 'other' people. The Government tells us this over and over again - 'the other people aren't our problem'. But we don't listen. We think they mean not our countries' people, but the lesson is that anyone who is not you doesn't matter.

Children: Dad, are you rambling a bit? What about politics? 

Dad: Oh, yes. Right. Politics. OK...remember the talk we had about sex shows in Amsterdam? Uh-huh. Well, imagine the public - people - are in the sex show. The Government, which is vast beyond comprehension, an uncaring void which encompasses the police, media, the bin men, VAT, taxation, what we see on the news, what we are permitted to watch on national television, where we walk on a pavement shared by people with bicycles who think they will save this world with a bike...

Children: Dad, are you a Nihilist?

Dad: So, this vast machine isn't a sword, right? It's like a double-ended dildo. We're the public, life is a sex show, and politics is that dildo. Supposed to please everyone, but like that Brian Yuzna film we watched, 'Society', our faces are all full of horror. We're on roofies (remember that talk?) and we don't want to be there. But we can't get out. It's too big. The dildo has become the master. We're strung out, jonesing, seeing shit like in Burrough's Naked Lunch...

Anyway. I don't want to have that conversation with the children. All the other stuff? We'll cover it when and if it comes up. Anything. Just not that. Some things are just too dark for children, some images too awful.

Love you.