I sometimes speak to my children like a Victorian Disciplinarian Father – ‘Sit down and keep quiet child or I’ll sell you to a chimney sweep who’ll put you up chimneys to clean them! I growl in a deep and menacing voice.
They know it’s a game and squeal with laughter or giggle and call me silly. It’s one of those private family joke things that is loving and fun and bonds us together.
Unfortunately I sometimes forget and last month did my ‘Victorian Dad’ routine in a shopful of people. My daughter as usual giggled and ran up to me and hugged my legs. But to the people in the shop she looked like a terrified urchin about to be given a taste of the whip.
I didn’t realise this until I looked around at the faces of my fellow shoppers, whose expressions ran from disgust to terror. I’m surprised nobody called social services.
The week after we were at a village gathering to welcome Christmas into the village. It’s actually very early for Christmas being November still, but in actuality I think the ceremony dates back to pre-Christian times and they’ve covered it up by shoving Christmas on the top to make it respectable.
This time my daughter was being genuinely naughty. She was bashing her brother with a squeaky stuffed (cloth) hammer and ignoring all attempts by my wife to get her to stop.
I leaned forward and said (in a not too quiet voice) ‘Please will you stop doing that – would you like being hit with that hammer?!’
Of course I said this just as there was a break in the music so my voice carried all the way down the street and into most of the next county. You could have heard a DNA unwind.
Of course as I looked up who was there but one of the more disgusted people from the shop episiode, and to make it worse my darling daughter looked up at me with big eyes and said ‘please don’t hit me with the hammer daddy’.
If my wife hadn’t dragged me away I’d have been lynched on the steps of the church (where they really used to do it 600 years ago)
Recently I’ve also had some very minor website problems. One poor man in particular was left waiting for his download for almost 24 hours when it should have been instant. I apologised and sent him a bonus but guess what?
The next time I had problems with a site, who should decide to buy?
Yep – my patient customer. I tried to explain that it was a co-incidence but polite though he was, I’ll never see him again. He got a snapshot of my business through bad luck, bad timing and technical difficulties. Nothing I can do about that except smile and hope he comes to visit my sites on a good day. You can’t control everything – so don’t sweat too much about the stuff that you can’t. Work on the stuff that you CAN change, and if you want to, change it.
Likewise my homelife.
What’s the betting that the next time my neighbours see me and my daughter, she’s got tomato ketchup all over her face and I’m walking behind her with the big stick I use for unblocking leaves from the drain?
I give up.
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