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The King & I
By Bill E. Branscum   ©2001

I wish to review with you the Ten Commandments, and point out to you that nowhere does it say, "Thou Shalt Not Deceive Thy Children." I suppose one might look at this missive as my effort to encourage single parents to take full advantage of that as necessary.

I am blessed in that my ex is neither a "dead beat" mutt, nor a monster - many of you are not so fortunate. Whatever the dirt in your life, you deal with it, but don't let it roll down hill. Insulate your children from reality the very best you can. There's nothing inherently beautiful about the truth, and no reason to share it when it's ugly, especially with your children.

I am "Dad," this is my ship, I am the Captain, and I am the King around here. In my house I have things my way - there is no "highway" option. My kids are too young to go anywhere.

I have a captive audience and a license to do as I please. If I want to serve dessert before dinner, that's my parental prerogative. As far as that goes, I can have an elaborate dessert for dinner - I can do anything that suits me! I can and I do.

I am "Mr. Mom," and I am Merlin the Wizard - I make ice cream, and I manufacture magic. It is my role in life to make things wonderful for my children, and I am under no obligation to be entirely truthful in doing it. Parenting is more art than science, and "artistic license" is part of the practice of any art form.

What I am talking about has nothing to do with "honesty." Honesty is one thing - and it's an important thing, but that doesn't keep us from sitting up with the kids, waiting for Santa now does it?

For my children, reality is mine to control as best as I can control it. It's my right as a parent, and it is an awesome responsibility. I would never allow a child of mine to experience a sadness or a disappointment I could prevent, or deny them any of the dreams and illusions that are associated with a healthy childhood.

If you have problems with child support, that's your problem, not theirs. They didn't choose their mother - you did. What were you thinking, and what with? Whose fault is that?

If my ex was a dead beat mom who defaulted on child support, I'd wage a war and I'd be as brutal as necessary to see that my children's interests were protected. In the meantime, I'd be telling our children what a wonderful woman their mother is. A King can afford to be magnanimous.

If I had an ex that didn't care enough about our children to remember them on birthdays and holidays, you can be assured that I would do it for her - or more precisely, for them. If she was a crack head, "rock monster" hooking her way to narcotic nirvana, the kids would still get presents and cards signed by a loving "Mom." I'd do it, and I'd go to my grave never having told them any different. A King can be creative.

No matter what she was or what she did, my children would never hear me speak badly of their mother - not ever! Hateful, hostile, wicked words have no place in my home; nothing good can come from them. My parents don't fight, but if they did, and had no more sense than to do it here, I'd show them the door. Parents or not, they'd not be the first of my guests to be shown the way out. A King can exercise control.

In my house, I alone enjoy the privilege of launching into a rage. I do terrible tirades, the incarnation of imperial insanity, and I do them pretty well - especially on a Saturday mornings.

I'll come boiling out of my bedroom, a picture of fury, bellowing at the top of my lungs, demanding to know who disturbed me. To anyone but my kids, it would be a pretty frightening thing to behold.

"All right, who did it? Who dared to disrupt my morning!? I cannot believe you little monsters - by God, I WILL get to the bottom of this. Somebody's gonna pay -- somebody's gonna feel my P A I N!

Don't you look at me in that tone of voice - wipe those smirks off your faces before I do.

I heard breathing, I KNOW breathing when I hear breathing and I DEFINITELY heard somebody breathing - you little varmints know I'll have no ever-lovin' breathing in my house!"

I go from child to child looking and checking for signs of breathing - that starts it. It's pretty hard to hold your breath when you're cracking up!

"Ryan, are YOU laughing - Oh don't tell me that you're laughing - you know I don't allow any laughing around here. Are YOU making fun of me? You wanna make me craaaaazy - you find me amuuuuuuusing perhaps?

Ohhhh - You don't wanna be making fun of ME! I'll rip your little head off and put it on backwards - I'll turn your nose upside down so you drown when it rains. I'll take away your birthdays - you'll be stuck at 5 forever! I'll gouge out your eyeballs and suck out your brains! Stop that infernal laughing I tell you - YOU STOP THAT RIGHT NOW."

In ten minutes, I can have my kids totally out of control! It's a riot, and they really enjoy it. That's the only kind of hostility I allow in my house. A King can be a king, or a clown, or whatever suits him.

Parents Note:

I do that sort of thing and it's fun, but I am careful not to start any bad habits. If my kids are actually unreasonably noisy, I just discuss that with them, making it clear that I am disappointed that they are not more considerate. I only do my, "His Majesty the Maniac" drill on mornings when they are perfect - and not very often at that. I find it especially amusing to do it when they have had someone sleep over who has never seen that sort of thing before!

If you're the King at your place, I would encourage you to be a king. Rise above the petty nonsense, kick the trash to the curb and adopt the position that mucking about in life's garbage is beneath your dignity. Control your domain and, more importantly, control yourself - keep your own counsel.

There are a great many things in the kingdom that Kings do not share with their Court; Kings deal with problems, they don't whine about them. It can be lonely at the top, but that's the price you pay to be the King.

In your house, it's your home and your kingdom - you can handle things however you like. I sincerely hope that you have the maturity to want what's best for your family, the wisdom to see how to get there and the strength necessary to make the trip.

Be a good King - it is truly, "Good to be the King."




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