Heavy burden to carry

"My teen and I were talking about the counselling we'd organised for him in the car in the way to school," writes a reader from Papakura. "After a whole school commute spent talking about counselling this and counselling that, the 6-year-old in the back seat pipes up: 'Is counselling the Jedi Counsel?' 'No,' I explain, 'it's when you have a problem and you need to talk to someone outside the family ...' He looks thoughtful and I ask if he has any problems. He thinks for a while and says, 'yes ...' I ask, 'What's your problem, honey?' He looks down and says: 'Farting'."

Childhood as it was

"When I was a 15 year-old girl living in Wellington, I belonged to a Venturers group," writes a reader. "We did a hitchhiking competition one weekend - which pair could get the furthest away and back again by Sunday 6pm with only $5. I was paired up with a 17 year-old boy, and we slept the Friday night on a park bench in Feilding and the Saturday night on the verandah of Mt Ruapehu Airfield. We won, having hitchhiked to Turangi and making it back to Wellington just in time, probably due to our pair being the only one with a girl (much easier to get a ride than two boys). That was 1985. I don't suppose Scouts do hitchhiking competitions nowadays? What were my parents thinking?"

The pants have eyes

In the driver's seat

"Many years ago I built a trolley which dad soon took over and finished," writes John Danvers. "I wouldn't need a brake because, he said, I could put my feet down. As he got fed up pushing me around the streets he had a better idea - to get some rope and tow me behind his Ford Anglia. So we took off at great speed. After a few miles (yes, miles) the trolley tipped over and I seriously had some major scrapes all down the right side of my body. To make up for the accident, he let me drive home. I was 12 years old."