Being a Dad on Telly! (sort of!)

Yesterday was an unusual day.

It was a Bank Holiday Monday and the first without my boys that I can remember for, I think, nearly 6 years. I found myself not settling on any one thing all day. As is the way on days like this, the telly was on in the background, I was sat at my computer reworking the blog post from the previous day as I wasn’t happy with it. Blackly brooding on my benighted blog, made all the more primitive by the purple prose I had been reading on the radiant, “The Name of the Rose” blog  (please visit, it is wonderful), through my moody miasma, I became aware of  excitable voices from the television. I heard a reference to how parents talk to their children land in my ear so looked up to see what the fuss was about. It was a show called “The Wright Stuff,” I have watched it before, one of my favourite comics,@domholland appears regularly as a pundit, (I like his perspective on news items, he doesn’t come at it from the same direction as most comics), though not today. A discussion was to be had after the commercial break about those subjects seemingly to some, still taboo for certain parents to discuss with their children, namely, Politics, Sex, Religion and Money.

I say old bean! This radiovision
thingy is rather splendid! Wot!

I remember thinking how silly, are there that many parents really reticent regarding life discussions with their children? I am genuinely surprised that their own embarrassment is seen as justification for not tackling life’s difficult questions with their youngsters; I thought this is a non-subject if ever there was, but I was surprised when the pundits began to suggest that these items were potentially difficult or embarrassing. 

I know there will be those that do not feel confident doing this but access to information has never been easier and most children enjoy the process of finding out, so why not do it with them? I was so surprised that I did something I have never in my life done before, I telephoned the show! They regularly take calls, it’s part of the format, but it had never dawned on me to do this ever before.
I suppose having written a blog recently about talking with my boys, it was in my mind and the subject resonated.

So the commercial break ended and the discussion continued with one pundit very seriously suggesting that many would find it difficult. I rang the number on the screen, not expecting to get an answer as I had waited until after the break and the discussion was continuing, to my surprise a researcher did answer.
“Hello ! “The Wright Stuff” which subject would you like to comment on?”
“Ummm”, Oh dear! They caught me a bit off guard here, I didn’t think anyone really answered these calls or rang the shows to be frank, “ Ummm the ummm  one now, this one that’s ummm, you know, about parents talking to their children.” Ah!  My oh so confident and articulate self!
“Yes sir and what’s your view on the subject”?
Deep breath, “Well all I wanted to add was that I take the view with my boys, that if they are old enough and smart enough to ask the question then they are probably old enough and smart enough to get an answer, I might adjust the response depending what I think they might understand.” Phew! I think I said all that rather quickly, but I was pleased with it and now it was done I relaxed.
There was a definite pause, I presumed he was jotting down my words before saying thank you and goodbye,instead I heard, “That’s an interesting view sir, can I ask you to repeat that on air?”
“Errrr  ummm, errrr…., O.K.!” I said, the “O.K” part slightly higher pitched than usual.
“Your name sir”
“and your county”
“Oh umm oh yes its, ha Greater London, sorry!”
“That’s fine thank you Andrew, if you can turn off your TV before your spoken to please”.
“O.K.”  In an almost pure baritone said I.
There is an eerie delay you hear through the phone, if you have the picture still on screen, I think there must be a 10-15 second delay built in for safety/security reasons. In any case a charming lady spoke to the host Matthew for what seemed like an age, I knew the show was about to end so suspected I would be dropped, at that thought I relaxed , Then I heard….,

“I’d like to try to fit one more in. Who have we got” said the host to the researcher.
“We have Andrew from London”
“Hi Andy, umm.. Andrew. So! what’s your take on this then?”

Breath, “Well I think if a child can ask the question then they are probably ready for an answer” Damn, I thought that’s not articulate enough!
Matthew nod’s his head once to the side and back, with a half smile on his face, “And was that the same for you growing up?”
Hold on son,
we are about to set off on
one heck of a journey

I choked a laugh, picked up by the audience and presenters and every one began to giggle.
“No! No! Not really no,” I managed to say.
“So what’s so different now” asked Matthew.
“Well I can remember being a young boy wanting answers to those questions; I just wanted to make sure that when my boys wanted to know anything they knew where to ask.”
“I think that’s a perfect note to end the show thank you Andrew and thank you everyone”


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