As a parent, I have an idealized view of the rules and values that I’m handing down to my children. The "living in a dreamworld" goal is to help them grow up to be humanitarians and model citizens…
The other day, we picked up my son’s friend Nate to come over and play. His mother and I were standing outside their house visiting, and the boys were talking.
“Remember the most important rule at my house is DON'T ASK,” my son said.
Nate's mom and I started laughing.
This is not a spoken rule, and I have never heard my son talk about it before.
“It’s almost dinner time. No more snacks. Don’t ask,” and “You’ve already watched T.V. and played on the computer. Don’t ask, ” I hear myself saying way too frequently.
All mothers have their catch phrases. I didn’t realize this was mine until I heard my son explaining, “… this was the most important rule of the house.” Not the “GOLDEN RULE”, or “BE KIND TO YOUR FRIENDS”, or “RESPECT THE PLANET”, but “DON'T ASK.”
Later, Nate’s mom came to pick him up. The boys were playing in the backyard, and when I looked outside my son had snuck a second ice cream sandwich out to the play yard.
“He didn’t ask permission for that,” I said.
“He followed your most important rule,” Nate's mother said.