It is the Easter Holidays. Alice has got homework to do, and we figured that today is a good day for it. Her class in school recently had a visit from the Fire Brigade, and they’ve all been asked, as holiday homework, to write a formal thank-you letter.
So this morning, groggy from a day out yesterday, we put our minds to it. As usual, I go off-message somewhat.
Me [on sofa, sipping coffee]: You should write to them something like this… “Dear Sirs, and more-commonly these days, Madams, Thank you for your hard work saving lives on a daily basis. I hope you don’t die…”
Sarah [on the other sofa]: No, don’t write that…
Me: “Dear Fire Dudes…”
Sarah [warningly]: No, Daddy…
Me: “Dear Flamestoppers, for aeons you have fought against the legacy of Prometheus…”
Sarah [a bit cross now]: Dan! NO!
Alice: [laughing] “Dear Firemen! YOU ARE SO COOL…”
Sarah: Great. Well done, Dan. Look what you’ve done now…
Me: Oh come on, it’s not like she’s going to write any of this
Alice: [still giggling] You are sooooo awesome, Firemen!…
Sarah: You’re influencing her. She’s taking you seriously.
Me: Oh all right. ALICE! Please don’t write anything like that.
Alice: [still chuckling away] OK!
Later on, I was tidying the kitchen when Sarah told me (with a meaningful look) that Alice had finished her homework. And this is it, which she presented to me, cackling merrily:
“Dear fire bragade,
Thanks for putting out The fires in the city. We are very gratefull. have any of you died or at least got injurd by the fire?
Oh. Right. Well, you reap what you sow, I suppose.
She then, after being told to write another letter, wrote a letter to the firemen thanking them for putting out the fires and for visiting, and asking them why they dressed up as gorillas.
NO!, I said, suddenly becoming all serious and pompous and “Father” all of a sudden (yeah, I know, a bit late). You can’t write that. Write a serious letter, and none of the stuff about gorillas! Firemen do not dress up as gorillas. Stop being silly about this! Write a PROPER letter instead.
Alice looked downcast, tears were inevitable. Sarah looked at me in exasperation.
“Dan! But they do dress as gorillas. They go to the zoo and hand out fire safety leaflets in gorilla costumes”.
Sorry Alice. No, please don’t be upset. I’m sorry, I really am. Look at how sorry I can be. Really, really sorry. Daddy is very sorry he got cross…
Morals of the story:
1. If you’re an arse, and you don’t take your children’s homework seriously, and your kid copies your whimsical attitude towards formality, you will cause your child to look a prime tit in front of their teacher and their classmates, and you will only have yourself to blame.
Firemen have to dress as gorillas to get the message of fire safety across. Don’t get angry with your kid for this. Get angry with the stupid people in this world, who require firemen to wear ape costumes in order to get it into their thick heads to take fire safety seriously.