How to embarrass a parent By Deb Williams

This example of how children can embarrass parents, relates not to how one of mine embarrassed me, but to how I embarrassed my father way back in the mid 1950s.

Having both of my parents teaching at the small rural village school meant that I sometimes accidentally got to hear things not really intended for the ears of a child.

It so happened that my grade 4 teacher had some strange ideas about discipline and he and I used to clash quite a bit.

After yet another frustrating interaction I rushed home that afternoon to unload my feelings onto my parents. They soothed me appropriately, but imagine my glee when later that evening I overheard my father say privately to my mother, “He’s just a bloody fool!”

I stored this up carefully, and next time I was at odds with the teacher I triumphantly trotted it out: “Well, my dad says you’re just a bloody fool!”

Even now, I cringe when I think of the embarrassment I caused my father. I never did find out how he talked his way out of that one, when approached by a very unhappy colleague asking for an explanation.

Needless to say, that night there was a serious session with my parents, where I learned an important life lesson. Personal matters discussed in the privacy of the home, remain at home. The word ‘discretion’ became part of my lexicon. That experience marked the beginning of a relationship of mutual trust that lasted a lifetime.


in Utrecht, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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I love life! Until 2010 life in South Africa was great, and now life in Australia is great. Consciously choosing to remain focussed on the positive really works, and my life is testimony to that.

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