On arriving at school this morning, Ben refused to take his coat in with him.
“I don’t want it,” he says, “it’s not raining.”
“How do you know it won’t rain later on?” asks Dad, with adult logic.
“None of my friends have got coats with them,” he replies, with eight-year old anti-logic.
“Peer pressure isn’t going to keep you dry,” says Mike.
So the coat had a nice walk to school and back, and although the sun is streaming through the window as I type, and although I lathered their faces in factor 50 sun cream, you never know in these rain-soaked weeks how it’s going to turn out.
Peer pressure has been a mixed blessing so far.
Both our children have church-going friends, so they often start up theological debates the like of which I haven’t considered for thirty years.
“Why does God let people die?”
“I don’t believe in him or any other kind of deity, so the question has no meaning for me,” is what I want to reply, ending all religious conversation.
But I don’t say that, I fudge it.
“Well, people who believe in God say heaven is a better place than here on earth. So maybe that’s why God lets people die.”
“What about hell?” is the obvious response, and it’s the one I get.
“Christians believe that hell is a punishment for people who’ve done bad things while they’re alive.”
I’m sure they know that, but knowing it doesn’t stop them from ignoring every request to brush their teeth, to take their plates to the sink and to put their clothes in the laundry basket.
If they’d just copy the better habits of their well trained peers I’d be delighted.
They have friends who are the model of good, God-fearing children, who help with the washing up and are keen to lay the table for tea.
But my kids seem to pick the one repellent feature of every friend and magnify it, ignoring all the many splendid qualities there for the choosing.
It’s the same with us.
They focus on my one use of sarcasm or the single swear word I let slip in extremis, and studiously ignore all the many times I say please, thank you and flush the loo after I’ve used it. Without being reminded.
As it happens, there’s been no rain, so eight-year old anti-logic wins the day.