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Different strokes
Different strokes
Scott Dunlop
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Hello again, kid wranglers!

It’s funny how people can have such wildly different approaches to the same things. I found out recently that Karen thinks a braai is just not complete without toasties- braaied cheese, tomato and onion sandwiches- but I’d always seen them as superfluous. Now that I have discovered the toastie tradition, I reckon my kids will be learning it too.

But you don’t have to chuck a sandwich on the braai. That’s your choice.

You see, being a parent means discovering a new range of taste buds. As a dad to three, I find this a perpetual challenge. One kid won’t like lasagne, only for that food to be a favourite of one of the other children. I like it, so we compromise, making the lasagne-hating child’s favourite another night.

Some of the most entertaining comments threads I have ever seen on Facebook posts have related to the most mundane preferences we have as adults: The over-the-holder-or-under toilet roll debate, for example, or whether or not pineapple pieces are acceptable as a pizza topping. (I insist on over and find pineapple quite tingly on the tongue, but people clamour in favour of the opposite, even if it mystifies me).

There is a point to this!

We’re allowed to differ. Not that there’s any rulebook, we simply choose to prefer different ways of going about our lives. That includes raising children. If you’re in my house, then I will understand if you change the toilet roll and feed it behind the holder, but I will probably change it once you’re gone. In the same way, your children can act within your rules, but mine will be encouraged to stick to theirs.

I get that your pizza isn’t my pizza, and you can put whatever toppings you want on yours.

I’m busy trying to discover what my own children’s taste buds are like, and to feed them accordingly. There are certain preferences they’ll form based on what’s on the table, but other preferences I can’t control. They’ll make their life choices in the same way. Experience and curiosity, trial and error.
The differences are what keep us interesting.

If I pop over to your house for pizza, I will be polite and eat what’s in front of me, but I won’t necessarily change my preferences. Then again, maybe I will. Also, how come none of you ever invite us over for a pizza? I’ll bring the toilet rolls.

Have a fabulous week, and don’t forget to share your favourite family-friendly recipes with the rest of us!

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