Things I Should Not Have to Explain

In this week’s column I name all the things I wish I did not have to explain to my children on a regular basis. Obvious things, really, like why they should not treat the refrigerator door like a piece of gym equipment.

I heard from a lot of people today (one comment on a friend’s Facebook page: “The ketchup thing is soooo true!”). Apparently it’s a common struggle that our children seem to wake up each morning with no recollection of all the instructions we gave them the day before. Or the day before that.

Oh, these boys. Do they heed my wisdom? No, they do not.





I had a lot of fun writing this column, in a cathartic, working-out-my-frustrations-through-writing kind of way. And I had material left over, because there are many, many things I tell my children that they do not seem to absorb.

More things I wish my children understood:

– I have not installed a GPS device in all of your possessions. If you can’t find your favourite stuffed animal or Lego minifigure, perhaps you should look for it.

– Humour is a subjective thing, but most people would agree that shouting the word “POOP!” at the end of your sentence does not automatically turn it into a joke.

– There are people who talk just to hear the sound of their own voice, but I am not one of them. I’d prefer if you didn’t make me say everything three times before you listened.

– Neither the Bible nor the Constitution makes any promises that children must always receive dessert.

– With very few exceptions, electronic devices belong inside and things with wheels belong outside. Wildlife also belongs outside. Footwear should be worn outside but it should not be left in the middle of the backyard overnight, in the rain.

– Horking great globs of toothpaste spit can be fun, but they should not be left in the sink for others to admire. They should also not be horked onto the bathroom mirror.


I have to confess I was partly inspired to do this column by an old article from The Atlantic that a couple of my friends shared online a few weeks ago, where a parent instructs his children in King James-style biblical laments. Read it if you have a few minutes: I guarantee you will cry laughing.


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