Our gratitude to Mog and Tiger
Back in the good old days, when men used Old Spice and fish was only served on Fridays, the threat of an early bedtime without any tea was a popular form of psychological warfare.
It was a surefire way to ensure a child of the 70s or the 80s would finish their homework or help wash out the SodaStream.
How times have changed. Ask most 21st century parents how they administer domestic discipline and you will hear an array of tactics, although most of them will relate in some way or another to small, flickering screens.
The rationing of screentime is a tool used by mums and dads everywhere, giving extra credence to the long-held belief that our young belong to a generation which is obsessed with technology. But we shouldn’t rush to kick modern youth, as there is hope, especially when you consider our youngsters’ love of books is as strong as ever.
Last week, the death of the children’s author Judith Kerr was met with an outpouring of sadness and nostalgia, usually reserved for a member of the Royal Family or a light entertainment great.
She gifted the nation with timeless classics such Tiger Who Came to Tea and the brilliant Mog series, and it is clear her legacy will live for decades to come. On learning of the 95-year-old’s death, my nine-year-old exclaimed, “Not Judith Kerr” and I am pretty sure this will have been repeated in homes across the land.
Kerr’s genius was to bring magic to the mundane – an evening stroll with mum and dad to the cafe for sausages and chips anyone?
Hers are the books that my parents read to me, that I still read to my children and, I am in no doubt, that my children will read to their offspring.
I get a huge kick out of the fact that my kids, who are no strangers to the world of tech, get as excited about a trip to the local library than they do about going to the cinema.
Bedtime for our youngest is painfully drawn-out as he insists on emptying his bookshelves before deciding on what tale he would like to fall asleep to, but it is a mini-drama we wouldn’t ever change.
Thank you Judith Kerr, parents everywhere really do owe you one.