Today’s children should be taught the virtue of silence. If children wouldn’t talk so much, they would not feel so hurt when I ignore them. Just yesterday, my son was droning on about some ridiculous robot with secret powers that could defeat the robot of any other child. My eyes drifted to the back of my head as the rhythmic cadence of chatter drove me to a place of greater interest. As my eyes closed completely, I was awoken by the scream of my wife. Driving is not the time for sleeping, said she. I would normally feign interest for the sake of the tot’s tender ego, but my nap made clear my indifference. An adult, I should hope, would realize that their subject was driven to sleep by boredom and would quickly retreat to sullen silence. Children have yet to learn this virtue.
I piped in about the robot with as banal a tone as I knew. This had no affect and only seemed to renew his enthusiasm for his killing machine. I then attempted a technique that frequently works when my wife’s endless chatter has induced a headache: diversion. I asked my only begotten son what tender morsels he would enjoy to maintain his masculine physique: flattery works for my spouse to great effect. This child effortlessly dodged my lame attempt by taking on the persona of the robot, who needs no nourishment, as he is a machine.
My wife noticed my attempts and instructed me to be happy that my children are creative and want to talk to their parents. I rolled my eyes at this directive, causing her to scowl and stare out the window, careful not to make eye contact for the duration of our ride.
Now why can’t my kids learn this?