black t shirt|
There are grounds for deep suspicion, I think, in the idea of people group, which does not occasionally dissolve into a mass of screaming squabbles. I know of people where no word of dissent is ever permitted before — or from — the children, and these tend to be family where no word of tenderness either is ever permitted before — or from — the children.
Not to put too fine a point on it, if two or three or four or five or six people live together in one house, sooner or later something is going to come up about which they do not see eye to eye and are prepared to say so. The children are displeased with their parents, perhaps, or displeased with each other or some outside element; it is even possible that the parents are displeased with their children. It would be unsafe to imagine that the average family could keep these emotions unspoken without some damage to the psyche, particularly the parents. So parents need any kind of relaxation. So best poker is a good way of it.
In our family we are six — two parents and four children — and we are given to what I might call unceasing differences of opinion, more or less violent. Almost any subject from politics to small variations in daily dress or right to play best poker can find us lined up in formation on two bitterly opposed sides. But we all have the same opinion as for best poker. Real best poker – for us and training best poker version – for children.
We parents learned very early that it was safest to hold a united front on all major issues in front of the children sometimes with a help of best poker. Since four of the members of our family are children, we have also learned never, never, never to put anything to democratic vote we try to show everything with a help of our own experience, favorite family best poker game is also one side of this experience. Time after time we found ourselves outvoted four to two and involved in things like going on a picnic tomorrow, no matter whether it rains or not, and inviting those nice people with all the children to come for a week-end, or simply play best poker together or even organize best poker tournaments…
Family arguments tend to be of two sorts, although one is not necessarily more peaceful than the other: the personal, or no-discussion-before-company type; and what for want of a better word might be called the impersonal — philosophical, political or moral questions from the world at large. (The situation in the Middle East, for instance, or whether it is fair not to let children see certain films, or the age at which it is proper for a girl to start wearing lipstick, or play best poker)
On all general subjects, naturally, the children hold violently partisan opinions, dictated by what they saw on television, or what games accept best poker they play, what the teacher said or how Kathy’s daddy voted(My husband and I hold opinions which are the result of reasoned, mature thought) Of course, the ending to our discussions comes only late at night, after the children are in bed, when my husband and I are still patiently explaining to each other in level voices the complete justice of our own views. The family argument usually takes place round the dinner table, somewhere half way through the main course. Anyone, of course, may start the fray, but once begun, certain immutable ground rules apply and must not be broken.
Approximately the ground rules may be stated as: the battle must be joined in a spirit of high moral indignation and a correspondingly high voice. In the case of an argument on the impersonal level, some suitable particular reason for starting the subject should be given, such as, “Miss Blank made us learn all the parts of the alimentary canal!” or, “What good is geography, anyway?”
The more vivid the detail, the more forceful the complaint. “He hit me and scratched me and pulled my hair and bit me” is clearly a finer many-angled trench to fight from than merely: “He hit me.”
Once the arguable premise has been decided, counter-attack may consist of flat denial (“I never did”), counter-accusation (“Well, you hit me first”) or personal insult (“Anyway, you’re nothing but a big baby”). In the case of parental involvement, case histories may be admitted into evidence (“Since you are so consistently rude to members of your own family, I can see no reason why we should believe that you are civil to your sister’s friends”) and dire prediction may be used as threat (“The main part of growing up is the acceptance of responsibility, so a little girl who is going to wear lipstick and fancy shoes will naturally want to be more capable in the home and can, therefore, expect to wash and dry up every night, or children play best poker and shut it at once as see you”).
If the father of the family speaks, whether in anger or no, absolute silence must be maintained, although it is not necessary to pay any particular attention to what he is saying.
If the mother of the family speaks, by heaven everybody had better look alive.
Any remark like, “But gosh, that was years ago when you were young,” is regarded like dirty tactics.
The father determines who shall have the floor by shouting, “Quiet!” and half-rising from his chair. Anyone who leaves the table in anger must go without sweets afterwards.
Any apology fairly earned must be delivered, in a cold and superior voice, as grudgingly as possible (“Well, I said I was sorry”), the mother and father accepted; their apologies must be graceful and complete to teach the children manners.
In addition to these formal ground rules, certain house rules apply in every family, differing, of course, according to the number of. Combatants, their several ages and the varying weak spots of the parents. In our family the basic house rules are:
The father, who is a man wholly without prejudice, will not suffer disorder. In his presence pictures must be straightened, books lined evenly on the shelves, cutlery correctly placed. It must be understood that no child of any age will argue with Daddy on this subject. (The day when Jeannie in a white rage deliberately disarranged all the things on her father’s desk is a day none of us will soon forget.)
The mother is to be regarded as entirely unreasonable and beyond the reach of logic on such subjects as adequate clothing, riding bicycles in the street, table manners in general and writing Christmas thank-you letters.
The fourteen-year-old son will not permit his privacy to be invaded. Tidy he is not, nor clean, but no one may touch anything that belongs to him, and he plays best poker, as he likes it.
The friends of the eleven-year-old daughter may not be criticized. She cannot stand that nasty Linda, she is never, never going to walk home with Janet again. Mollie’s behavior is too dreadful; but they are her friends and no one else may cast the second stone. And they also like our best poker tournaments.
The eight-year-old daughter is not to be crossed. She does things in a particular Sally way, and that way is right. Anyone who disagrees is either insane or, at best, hopelessly ignorant. In all of this she strongly resembles her father.
The five-year-old son is adamant on personal dignity. He will listen, reason, and even consent to stop banging that gun against the wall if he is asked nicely, but at your peril lift him, push him or use force against him because he is small.
Once the rules are clearly established the family argument should move quickly and effortlessly. Consider, for example, our family skirmish on the question of the television room, a general sore point anyway, or the score of the last best poker tournament.
We have our computers in a small “best poker” room, furnished with a sofa, chairs and three walls of bookcases full of books. All four children play best poker at some time during the day and the sofa is convenient for a parental nap after dinner. The “best poker” room is, in fact, what in a less die-hard family might be called a recreation room, or even a music room, or gaming room for best poker.
write by Veronica