Have you ever watched the show, "World's Strictest Parents?" I started watching recently and absolutely love it. Except, I think it should be called something else--like, "Parents Who Aren't Friends With Their Kids," or "Parents Who Actually Know What They're Doing."
It's a show about a family whose kids have things like rules (imagine that!) and structure and set bedtimes, and they're expected to behave with manners, and respect their elders. Then, they take in a teenager or two who doesn't know what it means to have regard for authority, respect for others, or think of anyone other than themselves. You know, like most of America these days! These kids go to the "strict" parents' home for a week to learn a thing or two, and usually they come out much enlightened because of it. My only wish is that they'd have a whole adoption process and stay there permanently.
In my day (don't you love how old that sounds?), every parent I knew was the same: firm. They expected us to listen to them, do as they said, have manners, go to bed at a decent hour, get up at a decent hour, contribute to the household, and treat others the way we wanted to be treated. The world didn't revolve around kids. Kids were kids, and parents were clearly in charge, and that was that! There was no questioning if it was "fair" or if anyone's psyche was getting damaged in the process. And these parents weren't considered "strict," either.
Can you see this is a pet peeve of mine?
This weekend, Erin and I were watching an episode of the show where a family, and the guest teenagers, were working outside in the rain. Everyone was wet--even the dog had water dripping off of its snout. I thought it seemed a little extreme to be mowing the grass and painting a shed in the rain, but then realized if you live in a rainy place and run inside every time it rains, nothing ever gets accomplished. Am I right in that assumption?
So, there we sat watching the show, Erin happily sucking on a popsicle. About 30 minutes into it, she asks, "Why is the dog sweating?" Surprised that she doesn't yet realize that dogs don't sweat the way people do, I chuckle and almost condescendingly answer, "Sweetie--that wasn't sweat! The dog was wet from being in the rain!"
Erin looks at me like she really can't believe what I'm saying. Then, smirking, she twirls her popsicle stick in the air to give me a little clue.
Speaking slowly now, she says: "Because it's a HOT DOG."
(Damned jokes on popsicle sticks these days!)
I might be strict but I never claimed to be intelligent.