Monday, November 28, 2005

Lessons in life...

I’ve just been playing cards with my 10-year-old son, Rogan. We ended up playing pontoon and I had in my hand a king and an ace – pretty much an unbeatable hand.

So I said to my son, “Tell you what, would you like a bit of a gamble? – If you win, you get to stay up half an hour later, but if you lose, you go to bed in 10 minutes.”

Now Rogan is a smart lad, and he knew, or really should have known, that I wouldn’t say something like that unless I had a damn good hand. To be honest I just expected him to roll his eyes and ignore me, but stupidly he said, “Ok then!”

Of course, he lost, but then got really upset about it. I’m now feeling like a bit of a bastard, but I can’t back down now. This is nothing to do with testosterone driven posturing, but everything to do with the fact that he has to learn that you never enter a bet unless you’re prepared to lose.

“But you knew I’d lose!” he wailed, “It’s not fair!”

“But you knew I wouldn’t have done this unless I was pretty sure I’d win. You should never have agreed to it,” I tell him, but it doesn’t help matters.

I make a mental decision that if he accepts his lot, and gets his pyjamas on, then I’ll say that because he’s clearly learned his lesson then he can stay up until his usual bedtime after all. Unfortunately he gets even more upset and I end up having to threaten him with an earlier bedtime tomorrow night unless he gets ready for bed right now, as he agreed to when he entered the terms of the gamble.

I begin to worry that the emotional arms race is accelerating towards Mutually Assured Destruction, but he backs down at this point and stomps up the stairs.

I hope he’s learned that gambling is for fools, unless you’re prepared to accept the consequences. However, I fear the lesson he’s learned this evening is that Dad is a bastard who’ll con his own son and is not to be trusted.

*Sigh*

9 comments:

Adam said...

Kid's not really sure about having them in the future - work with them so hope I dont need any of my own :)

Great to read your blog, a very fresh and real view on life.

another rebecca said...

I'm not sure who to sympathize more with- I can pretty easily identify with both you and Rogan, blessed as I am with a large amount of hard-headedness...

Kim Ayres said...

Adam - welcome to my ramblings - glad you're enjoying them. Kids are an absolute pain in the a*** sometimes, but I wouldn't trade being a dad for the world. It is truly the greatest thing that a man can be.

Another Rebecca - I'm sure you are not just "another rebecca"! Have you thought about using your surname initial so that rather than being "another rebecca", which does you down, you could be "Rebecca S" or "Rebecca L" or whatever initial it is?

Gyrobo said...

Kids are the funniest. I've got these family friends who have a three year old, and this kid actually knows how to call people. So far, he's called my house, his grandparents, and I think France or Italy.

But seriously, this ties into the whole "rule by fear, rule by love" thing.

Asher Hunter said...

I agree with what you said - you have to not only teach him this lesson, but also teach him that when dad says something, he will stand by what he said. Children need that respect.

That said, perhaps you could have offered a consolation prize the next night, like letting him stay up a half an hour early for "being a man and standing by his word".

BStrong said...

Kim,
Your post made me laugh. I think Rogan has learned his lesson. If I was holding Ace-King, I would have done the same thing.

It's better that he learned his lesson from you and not the hard way. Can you imagine Rogan coming home and telling you "Dad, I need the title for the car"

Cheers,
B

Kim Ayres said...

Gyrobo - luckily we never had a problem with the kids using the phone when they were younger - mind you that was probably because we deliberately kept it up on a shelf about 4 feet off the ground.

Asher - He seems fine now. The question is what will happen next time I offer him some kind of gambling deal?

Bstrong - I was beginning to wonder whether I was going to get a comment on this from another parent! Nice to know you'd have done the same thing.

Stella said...

A hard lesson to learn but yes you did the right thing. Better he learns it from you than out in the big bad world.

Kim Ayres said...

Stella - thank you :)