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How Not to Bring Up Independent Thinkers

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I like telling people about the funny things that happen in my life. Obviously... I spend a lot of time writing these blogs but only if people want to listen. And if you are reading this then you are here because you have chosen to come here and not because I am forcing you. If someone else happens to be forcing this on you then that's fine. I'm all for that. But I don't want to be pushing my writing on people. Similarly I also try not to force my views and opinions on people in day to day life. This isn't because I'm not particularly opinionated - those of you who know me well will be well aware of my opinions and views...

So I've been trying to be good and not force my views on the girls too. This is much much harder. They actually listen to quite a lot of what I say (which for two young girls you may think is remarkable - but they actually do!) and their little minds are taking in everything I say and do. But I want them to grow up to be able to make up their own minds about things and not be easily led. I want them to think things through and make sensible, rational decisions that are fair and just. But I want them to make the same sensible, rational decisions that I make. Otherwise their decisions would be wrong and that would annoy me...

So every now and then I slip up and starting leading them into thinking or doing something my way. Waitrose is my biggest downfall. After getting through the shop with two small children and not spending all my money (almost all but not quite all - it is impossible to spend less than £20 in Waitrose regardless of how little you intend to buy) our reward is putting the green coin in the charity box. Anna always enjoys this and quickly clocked that a little smile to the cashier would get her extra coins to deposit.

So we head over to the box and Anna asks me what each slot is for. "Which is which Daddy?" I start to explain to her about this week's charities. But it's complicated. And she doesn't always understand the finer details of the charities so I try to explain it simply to her. And this is where I slip up. I can't help putting my own spin on them...

- So Anna, the first one is a charity that is collecting money to fix a church roof that is leaking and letting rain in, the second is raising money to improve the facilities and changing rooms at the local football club and the final one is providing respite care for children suffering with cancer.

- Hmm, which one to choose?

- So let's think. The first is to stop a few people getting wet for an hour a week at church, the second is so boys who play football can have a wash afterwards and the third is to make life better for children who are very very poorly and may die.

- The poorly child one?

- Good choice...

I think my worst Waitrose charity moment was a few months ago. Anna had her coin and trotted off to the boxes.

- Which is which Daddy?

- Well the first one is a charity for abandoned dogs, the second is for old horses and the final one is for poorly cats. Put your coin in your coat pocket Anna, we will keep it and bring it back next week.

- Why Daddy?

- Last week you had to choose between Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and MS. We aren't giving money to bloody dogs this week. You can save it until we get more worthwhile charities next time.

Hmmm, possibly not the greatest way to get her to think for herself. I have some work to do if I want to bring up a pair of independent thinkers.

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