“You know that film I watched? It was a PG. But it wasn’t scary. So I really don’t need parental guidance.”

So said a 4 year old to her dad. Hard for the little girl’s dad to argue with such youthful logic!

I heard the snippet of conversation as I walked past the pair. How would the girl’s dad respond? “No, you’re quite right, my girl. You have good judgement at all times and so I absolve myself of further responsibility for you.” Or, “Well, I’m your dad and, though you’re pretty savvy on some things, you might just possibly need a bit of guidance now and again.”

How I’d love to have heard the dad’s real response!

A government website sets out in terse terms what it perceives to be parental responsibility. A dictionary defines ‘guidance’ as, ‘Help and advice about how to do something or about how to deal with problems.’

If I dared to define parental guidance, I might try: ‘Equipping a child for life.’ But no human parent gets it right all the time. Parents, indeed all adults, need guidance too – for their own lives as well as for the lives of children. Where do we find that guidance? Government? Traditional or social media? The shrill voices of drum-bangers? God? God’s guidelines have stood the test of time. It could be the place to start…

Meanwhile, top marks to that 4 year old who talks to her dad, and top marks to him for listening – and, presumably, for continuing the conversation. I wonder which film she was referring to…

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