The "oh so hilarious" hobby of German-bashing raised its felt-capped, feathered head again recently, as The Sun picked up on a story that half of Britons have German blood! Given that it is my suspicion that half of The Sun readers would struggle to point out Germany on a world map, I suspect the other half were horrified.
German newspapers, needless to say were revelling in it. Der Spiegel commented, "It is now clear that the nation which most dislikes the Germans were once Krauts themselves!" This sentence alone, in my opinion, demonstrating more wit than the long list of questions posed by The Sun to discover "How German Are You?"
Truth is, the characteristics we are so quick to label the Germans with, I suspect one could pin on all adults, regardless of nationality. Lacking in humour, uptight and inhibited are three adjectives often associated with our Teutonic neighbours. I put it to you that when it comes to child rearing the Brits are not so different. Whilst we are proud of our sense of humour, we should perhaps take a moment to ask ourselves what kind of humour is it of which we are proud. More to the point is it humour that our children can appreciate?
Quite frankly, whilst I like to think my British upbringing provides me with the jokey-gene, Finje only thinks I'm funny if I act silly. I hate that. Crawling around pretending to be a unicorn or pulling faces and blowing raspberries, may have her in convulsions but I'm cringing.
Watching Finje scribbling in a colouring book yesterday, I just about managed to stop myself, before an Anglo/Teuton moment of "up tightness" threatened to spoil the fun. She wasn't concentrating, scrawling outside the black lines and shock of horrors she had coloured a tree in blue! I bit my tongue. She was after all having fun, and that is what it's all about.
That afternoon, out walking in 30° temperatures we were caught in a rain storm. I automatically began to hurry, not up for a soaking. Looking back, ready to admonish Finje's dawdling, I found her sitting in a puddle, laughing like a drain, splashing around and squeezing mud through her toes. It was brilliant. She didn't expect her conventional British mother to join in. Why should she? I never have. So when I did, she couldn't believe her luck.
It's not about nationality, it's about becoming an adult and losing your sense of fun.
How much our kids have to teach us.