Right. Let me set the scene for you. I eat carrots. I pull faces outside the house during windy spells. I eat the crusts on my bread. I’ve ate spinach more than once in my life. And I’ve ate cheese just before I’ve hit set off up the wooden hills for a good nights sleep.
Now rumour would have it that I should be a strong, curly haired insomniac. With a slightly distorted face and who can see perfectly in the dark. But I wouldn’t particularly say that any of those things are true. I need glasses or contacts to correct my vision, especially in darker areas. My hair is straight as a ruler. I don’t often have nightmares, although I talk in my sleep a bit. Infrequently about cheese. And my face has never ‘stuck like that’ when I’ve made a stupid face, while not indoors.
And I wonder what positives will come of any of these blatant lies? Telling a kid that something good will happen if they eat their carrots is all well and good, but then what are the consequences of such a fantastic power like night vision? If it works, do they have to sit in the living room of a night and alert anyone of burglars? They won’t be able to relax. They may be feeling quite worried that when they’re sitting in the dark and they can’t see a thing, that the carrots aren’t working, or they’re the wrong ones. They’ll start ordering specific ‘night vision carrots’ from the Asda to ease this huge pressure. And this isn’t something we want to do to our 6 year old kids.
What about telling your children that eating your crusts makes your hair curly? What type of positive could that be to a child now? It was bad enough for me back in the day, because they were basically telling me I was going to look like Screech off Saved By The Bell. Which is bad enough. Now the kids will be thinking that they’ll end up looking like Dirk Kuyt. If you’re going to lie to them, make it something good. Like you’re going to buy them Optimus Prime if they eat all their crusts.
Another false claim dished out during childhood was that of ‘The Man.’ Now I was shit scared of ‘The Man.’ I was for a long time, and this was mostly down to the fact that I thought he was going to shout, or even ‘get me’ on other occasions. I sense, having been an adult for about two years now, that this was down to a lack of discipline in the offending parent’s approach to child-bearing. They couldn’t get the kid to behave, so a quick threat of ‘The Man’ getting them should be enough to silence their cries.
And I don’t know who to feel sorrier for. The kid who is going to spend the rest of his childhood flinching at ticket inspectors, or the actual ‘man’ who is made out to be some sort of beast who beats children in public, while their parents look on and nod in satisfaction. You watch. The next time someone says that in a restaurant or on the train, you’ll see ‘The Man’ look quite uncomfortable, and the kid in question will look at him as if he’s just cut the heads off all of his teddies. It’s an awkward moment.
So the next time you’re trying to get your kids to eat their carrots or shut up on the bus, think of the repercussions your lies will have on your offspring and even the people around you.