(last updated Feb 09, 2006)

So Fathers Be Good to Your Daughters

By Stephen D. O'Regan, Gwcc.D.

As adults, we know the world is a pretty complicated place. Trying to make sense of the world to young children is challenging. Their minds are not capable of comprehending this vast level of complexity. So when we explain things, we take calculated liberties. We smooth over rough edges, make things out to be a little more black and white than they really are, all with the forethought that we will add more realism to this worldview as our children mature. The risk of course is that the children will feel misled. And as all children are lawyer-wannabees, they zero in on minute inconsistencies of yesteryear's explanations. Case in point, a recent conversation with the teenage daughter …

Daughter: Beethoven was German.

Father: Hmmm?

Daughter: Beethoven was German. He was born in Bonn, Germany, and lived his adult life in Vienna, Austria.

Father: That's right.

Daughter: You said he was from Ireland.

Father: His parents were

Daughter: German. Both of them.

Father: very fond of Ireland. They spoke Irish at home.

Daughter: You said his family was Irish.

Father: They were, in a manner of speaking.

Daughter: How's that?

Father: They spoke Irish at home. That is being Irish in a manner of speaking.

Daughter: Nice try.

Father: Beethoven wished he was really Irish.

Daughter: How do you know that?

Father: Common knowledge.

Daughter: Right.

Father: Are you finished?

Daughter: You said the Fifth Symphony was a jig.

Father: It is. Bah-bah-bah BAAH, Bah-bah-bah-BAAHH. That's a jig.

Daughter: That's not a jig.

Father: Jig-LIKE … I meant that it's jig-like. Not exactly a jig but very close.

Daughter: You always said it was a jig, not 'jig-like'.

Father: That's when you were younger. You were too young to understand the subtle nuances of classical music. Now you're more mature.

Daughter: OK. What about Mozart? Was he really from Cork?

Father: Absolutely.