Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Life

June 3, 2013

GROUNDS FOR INSANITY: Parents draw battle lines especially when outnumbered

(Continued)

Before there was a Tea Party, there was a tea party. If you know what I mean. As I’d noted in the past, those kids could stage their version of Boston Harbor that quick.  

We heard all the old standbys without which no childhood is complete. “All of my friends get to A, B and C,” they’d say. This could be anything from staying up all night to playing video games ‘til their eyeballs fell out to adopting a food pyramid made entirely of candy.

Then this, “None of my friends have to X, Y or Z.” This ran the gamut from “clean their rooms” to “take out the trash” to “lift a finger.” Having made their point with clever flip charts and graphs, the disgruntled colonists would rest their case.

Which is when the British (aka Local Authorities) would repeat the old standbys without which no parental career is ever complete. “If all of your friends jumped off of a cliff like little lemmings, would you jump, too?” And, “If you’re really that hungry, you can have seconds on broccoli.” And this: “I have a degree in slave driving from the University of Egypt. I can’t let it go to waste.”

If those staging the coup would pull a face or roll their eyes, we’d use one more. “Your face could freeze like that, you know.”

No, this wasn’t a vote center on hot-button issues. You had to draw your battle lines, parents did, because once you had more than two, you were outnumbered. And that’s when anarchy could break out.

In my family of origin, the count was 3-2. Three kids, two parents. But in Mr. Schrock’s family, it stood at 5-2, overwhelming odds in anyone’s book.

They were a pack, those five, having arrived in exactly six years. A little herd’s what they were, able to start a revolution at the drop of a cookie box. It was especially disconcerting when they revolted en masse in the back of the family station wagon. With no seat belt laws, things could go to a very hot place in a proverbial hand basket, and fast.

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