Now that the election is kind of overish, we can all return to what's really important in life. Family.
Most people would agree an important part of parenting is teaching right from wrong.
But what is right and what is wrong? It can be hard to tell.
We teach our kids not to steal. But we would rather they nicked something than starved to death. Don't hit. But what about Hitler? Flush. But down the bach "if it's yellow let it mellow".
Good parents lead by example. But that doesn't work if you want your kids to turn out better than you did. Here are two tricky parenting situations I experienced recently. Pretty sure I got them wrong.
My dog Colin, my youngest son and I were watching my older son play football. Unbeknownst to me, Colin was sniffing around some jackets and a bag left on the sideline. Suddenly a man came running at us yelling, 'No no no', then he bent down and aggressively pushed Colin away.
Every parent knows the red mist that descends on you when someone has a go at your kids or dog. I needed to make a stand. Show my youngest what happens to people who mess with our family.
So I yelled, "Settle down mate he's just sniffing your clothes". He just grabbed his stuff and marched off. So I yelled after him, "Chill out".
At this point I was totally in the right. I know this because a parent beside me backed me up: "Jeez he was fired up, what's the big deal with a dog sniffing ya clothes?". That's when her husband pointed out (between laughs) that Colin had in fact urinated right into the man's bag and all over his jacket while we weren't looking.
In a split second I went from being very right to being very wrong. Worse I had set a terrible example for my youngest. As he put it, "Dad, Colin peed in that man's bag and instead of saying sorry you yelled at him".
I tried to explain that I was in the right at the time of the 'telling off'. I only became wrong when I found out about the peeing. There was no way to say sorry as the guy was long gone. Very humiliating. But potentially character building for my boy?
Here's another situation. A mate of mine decided his kids were getting a bit soft. So when his family rode their bikes round to a friend's house for dinner last week he told them they would be riding home again no matter what. Rain or shine. No complaining. Surely that's the right thing to do.
Unfortunately a brutal spring thunderstorm hit Auckland early evening. So there he is making his crying kids ride home in the dark, in torrential rain with terrifying lightning strikes every few minutes. They were petrified. He's yelling, "This is fun, this is fun". They're yelling, "We're going to die daddy.We're going to die."
His 5-year-old, blinded by the pelting rain, rode smack bang into a fence. Hit his head. Fell in a puddle.
Seems a bit wrong. But maybe it will make them stronger people later in life. Maybe subjecting your kids to a life-changing night of terror, injury and risk is actually the right thing to do. Hard to say. The election is over, you've made your choice. You can't change things now. But choosing right from wrong is something we can do every day. As a parent you owe it to your kids to get it right. However, leading by example only works if you get it right. Even then you might be hurting by helping or helping by hurting. Good parents may well be terrible parents and vice versa.
You can't win, so don't worry about it. If you get it wrong you might turn out to be right when they grow up determined to prove you wrong.