Wednesday, June 30, 2010

an elephant as a gift

There are these very good friends for many years.
They have children and these kids are the greatest in the world.

Let's face the truth: most children are a pain in the neck.
They are annoying, spoiled, irritating, noisy, demanding, smelling and obnoxious.
Only a very small amount of children are really nice kids.
Like the ones of the dear friends.

A boy and a girl.
Doing well in school.
Playing tennis and hockey.
Reading books and playing chess.
Respecting their parents and adults.

Each time when this lovely family is visited, a present is offered to the two children.
And it is a tradition now that they don't get silly things like a toy or a computer game or some other nonsense, useless and senseless thing.
Instead, each time they get a bookstore-check.
With which they can go to the bookstore around the corner and buy a book.
The intention is to give and learn the kids independence.
That they can make decisions for themselves.
To choose what book to buy.

Of course as an adult one can make a choice of a book to offer to a child.
Contemplating what would be educational and entertaining for the kid.
But in a way this is very patronizing.
Imposing certain ideas and thinking.
We can trust most children to be able to enter a book shop, look around and make an adequate choice.
They feel great when they are allowed this opportunity.
They believe they are taken serious by adults and that gives them the very necessary feeling of self confidence.

Nevertheless, the child must remain aware that it is the adult that is in charge.
And this can be done in a playful way.
An adult, really, doesn't need to shout and threaten the child to keep the authority.
There is another way.
More clever and effective.

Yesterday a phone call was made to the dear friends.
The young son happened to answer the phone.
Immediately the opportunity was grasped to make a memorable joke and teach the kid who is the upper dog.

The voice was deformed so he would not recognize who was calling.
"Are you by chance Martin E. ???" the voice asked.
"Yes, that is me!", the young boy replied.
"Well, Martin, my name is Robert Caruso and I am from the Foundation for the Protection of the most rare species in the world".
"I see", Martin said impressed.
"We may congratulate you, Martin, because you have won our annual contest!!!"
"That is great", Martin: already happy.
"So, tomorrow we will come to your house and bring the first price you have won!!!"
"What is the first prize then?", Martin asked.
"You have won this baby elephant and we hope you have a garden where it can roam and play, Martin".
"An elephant???"
"Yes, an elephant from Africa already about two meters high and eating tons of grass. You will be delighted with this elephant."
"But our garden is small and I don't know if my parents allow me to have an elephant."

Before the boy could become upset not knowing how to handle receiving an elephant, the voice was changed back to the normal mode and he understood then who was really calling.
Children like these kinds of jokes.
But we may wonder though who
in this case is the child.


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