Without wishing to sound like Frank Gallagher out of Shameless, all I want for our daughters is the ability to think for themselves.
Judging by the legions of gormless wallflowers on work experience who have drifted through the various newsrooms I’ve worked in during the last 20+ years, our schools have spent the better part of the last two decades grinding down kids’ common sense with one hand while spoonfeeding them answers to GSCE questions with the other.
Tasks such as answering a ringing telephone, taking a simple message and making a cup of tea for the editor without setting themselves on fire have sadly been beyond the capabilities of many students with twice as many academic qualifications as yours truly.
In the words of Steve Coogan’s Pauline Calf, it’s a good job most of them can whistle otherwise they wouldn’t know which end to wipe.
Which is why I had to admire daughter #2’s sheer chutzpah recently when she needed a favour. And even though I was in another country at the time, I was only too happy to oblige.
So there we were, standing in a big field in Germany at the Hurricane Festival three weeks ago. A few beers had been enjoyed, Elbow had just played and Arcade Fire were about to give us all a preview of their storming Glastonbury set a week before most people had heard it.
Good mood? Well if you needed a favour now was the time to ask. Then my mobile pinged. A text from daughter #2, which read, ‘GLEE STARTS JULY 3 ON SKY 1’.
Now what with Netflix, DVDs and dozens of free-to-air channels on offer in our house, we switched off all pay TV some time ago.
But daughter #2 loves Glee like Romeo loves Juliet, and she knew the Friday night running order of the main stage at the festival so picked her moment to perfection. So I did what any dad would do after an evening of Beck’s beer and world-class bands. I sent her a text which read, ‘Get it. You can have what you want x.’
The girl had done her homework and even though I’d been played like a fiddle, she deserved to reap her reward.