Some years ago, we decided to hold a family forum. I don’t know why really. I think we had some romanticised notion (bit like the latest John Lewis Christmas ad offering) that it would be an opportunity to democratically discuss activities, mealtimes, different ways of spending time together.
We bigged it up to the kids. It was their space, to air their views. We even encouraged them to have a pre-meeting meeting so they could share ideas. They disappeared upstairs the evening before and we could hear them chatting excitedly.
On the Saturday morning, we all gathered at the appointed time. Richy chaired and kept minutes. He’d got his treasured yellow tablet pad out and carefully added the time, date and place with his best ink pen. There was a palpable sense of excitement. He wrote down the names of everyone present.
“Ok, dudes, over to you. What ideas have you got?”
“CAN WE GET A PLAYSTATION?!” they chorused. “AND A BIGGER TV!”
“Yeah!” “Yeah! Bigger tv and a playstation!!!!!!!” “YEAAHHHHHHHH!!”
We looked at each other. Helpless.
“LB, you aren’t saying anything,” I said, turning to LB who was sitting in silence. “What do you think?”
“Can you all fuck off and leave me alone,” he said.
The family forum folded at that point. Richy still has the minutes (well around 5 minutes) in his yellow pad.