I thought my daughter, Kate, was the perfect child. She was valedictorian of her high school class. She was undefeated on her tennis team. She graduated from Northwestern University and landed a job with Paramount Pictures, where her first assignment was marketing the motion picture “Forrest Gump.”
I could have easily gone on with this utopian view of my daughter. But a few years ago, some startling childhood truths were revealed over dinner.
Like the time Jeff, my son and Kate’s older brother, broke a prized antique rocking chair. Turns out it was Kate, who offered Jeff a week’s allowance if he took the blame and the resulting consequences.
This was the same “perfect daughter” who, for years, unwrapped and rewrapped every Christmas gift addressed to Jeff and herself. Again, she received a small “allowance bonus” for her meticulous skill set. Before Christmas morning, these two would practice their looks of surprise for when they would open the presents again, in front of their parents.
The bottom line is, both Jeff and Kate grew up to be responsible, caring parents. Now, they stroll around thinking they know every detail of their kids’ activities.
As Grandpa, I know better.