By KATE HUNTER
So I saw this in my Facebook feed.
And it made me unaccountably cranky. Maybe because I’d just wasted ten minutes arguing with my six year old about why she is required to make her bed every morning.
‘But Mum,’ she wailed, ‘It just gets messy again every night.’
Bloody George Carlin, I thought, it’s all his fault. Why is he inciting civil disobedience amongst my children? Who the hell is he anyway?
A quick Google revealed George Carlin was a comedian, activist and social satirist. I’m not sure if he had kids. Or if he’s ever worked as a teacher, caught public transport, or tried to have a coffee in a food court.
Because from where I sit, kids are EXCELLENT at questioning everything. It comes very naturally to them. Kids come with questioning inbuilt – as standard. The need no lessons, encouragement or reward to ask ‘why is it so?’
With no tuition AT ALL, most can ask, ‘Why do I have to?’ or ‘Who says?’ or even, ‘That makes no sense,’ before they lose their baby teeth.
‘It doesn’t have to make sense,’ I wanted to yell during the bed-making offensive. ‘I expect you to make your bed even though, you WILL mess it up again.’
Then I do it. I speak the words I vowed I never would, ‘Because I said so.’
I know George probably wasn’t talking about such mundane things as making beds and eating vegetables. He was no doubt wanting children to question the big things – the meaning of life, the existence of God, the morality of capitalism. Good, great – all for that.
But when a kid asks, ‘Why is my bedtime 7:30?’ I think it’s completely acceptable to answer, ‘BECAUSE I SAID SO.’
And no correspondence will be entered into.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of intellectual questioning: is To Kill A Mockingbird the greatest novel ever written?
Is global warming entirely caused by humans?
What’s the point of rugby league?
It’s conversation, it’s banter and it’s fun.
But before I learned to converse, I was proficient in shutting up and listening to what my teachers and parents told me. Not because they were always right (ha) but because, you know, they were my parents and teachers.
I remember having long arguments in my mind as my grade six teacher spouted the most appalling theories on why I should work harder on my handwriting. She said it was God’s will that I wrote neatly.