What Should We Be Teaching Our Kids?


I’m the first to admit I’m hopeless when it comes to helping the kids with homework. I giggle because I use colons in my writing. I mean they’re colons! As for semicolons – I don’t know what they’re for. Winking? Even maths seems different to when I was at school.

But I don’t worry too much about that because at the end of the day I think maths can be left to the professionals to teach. Rather than sit around the dining table yelling at my kids because I don’t know how they do long division these days I feel there’s other ways I can be guiding them.

Manners, for a start. Fairness. A sense of worth.

Don’t pick your nose and eat it (in front of house guests). The important stuff.

One of the things I really try to instill in all my kids is the idea of leaving the world a better place than when they entered it. Recycling? Sure. Solar energy? Makes sense to me.

But what else?

Well, how about simply treating other people with decency and respect?

I like to think my kids get this, although I know they still bicker and fight and act out. They’re kids. But I trust that with mine and Tracey’s guidance they’ll grow to be adults who understand you have to be fair.

In fact, I think most of our kids are probably doing better than a lot of adults already. Including adults in important positions of power.

My son, Master10, wrote to the PM recently because he was upset to learn gay people can’t marry like straight people. I wrote a post on it recently.

Well, last week Master10 received his reply from the PM. I was really happy about this because since he’d sent his email off the first thing he’d been asking us every day when he arrived home from school was, “Did anything come from the Prime Minister yet?”

Here’s a slightly blurry photo of the letter he received:


Was Master10 upset? Yep. He really believed he was going to change the PM’s mind.

Was I proud? Oh, yes.

Was this to be the end of his crusade?

Not a hope.

“I don’t think he understands,” Master10 told me as he read the letter for a third time. He looked up. “Can I borrow your laptop, Dad? I think I’ll send him another email.”

And this is what I can teach my kids. Don’t give up.

Don’t think that because someone is in a position of power that they are right. And if you know you’re right, don’t stop putting your case forward.

Change the world. Make it better.

But he was going to have to wait to send another email off because Miss8 had been listening in.

“I need to write too,” she said, stomping off towards my laptop. This is what she wrote.

Dear Tony Abbott

My brother, Josh D, wrote to you about gay marriage too. I think that gay people should be allowed to marry who they love. Years ago, my Mum and Dad had a friend named Chriss. He was going to be gay. But he died before he did. And we liked Chriss for who he was, not who he loved. As I said, people should be allowed to marry who they love.

From <Miss8> Devereaux

Our good friend, Chriss, would be surprised and delighted to learn that, lifestyle aside, he wasn’t gay yet.

So I guess my point is I may giggle when I punctuate my sentences with tiny assholes, and I may not be much chop around the dining table when it comes to trains approaching each other at varying speeds, but I know what’s right and fair. My parents taught me that.

And standing up for issues which are important and having a voice is something I’m instilling in my kids.

If you enjoyed this post please share, like or comment.

It really does make a difference. Thanks.

“Raising a family on little more than laughs”


  • That’s all so true. My two things “this week” are teaching the kids about karma good and bad (usually when stuck in a traffic jam and another car doesn’t let me in) and also to address their friends mums and dads as Mr or Mrs XYZ rather than their first name. I’ve never quite been sure on that one – I still call my (elderly) parents friends as Mr or Mrs xxx. It just seems a little weird to be addressing their friends parents by their first names. Probably no right or wrong way but that’s how I am doing it now. There is always something to teach them right?

  • I hope the next letters (of which I hope there are many more from your very thoughtful and well bought up and educated children) remind our elected representatives that they are there to put forward the views of their electorate, not their personal views as this letter indicates. After all, a Member of the House of Representatives “Represents the people”.

What do you think?

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