Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Parenting'

Parents Nil, Media Nil, MP 8 out of 10

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A man on an Air New Zealand flight turns to his partner and says, ‘I wish those children would shut up’. His remark that night features on both major TV networks’ national news bulletins, both ‘current affairs’ programmes and prominently the next day in every metropolitan newspaper in the country. The Timaru Herald even devotes its leader to the story.

Since people on planes regularly express the wish that noisy or badly behaved children would ‘shut up’ – often in much stronger terms than that – and since those episodes attract no attention whatsoever in the media, we have to assume that there was something else to justify such extensive coverage. There was. The complainant was a Member of Parliament and he was gay. (I’ll come to the ‘gay’ bit in a moment.)  Read the rest of this entry »

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Second Chance Dad

Reuben Strahan - 18 hours old

Reuben Strahan - 18 hours old

 A few days ago I had  an email from my oldest friend, Ivan Strahan.  ‘Oldest’ in both senses of the word – Ivan and I were at school and university together in Belfast. Now semi-retired, he lives in the lovely little seaside town of Donaghadee with his gorgeous wife Claire. You may have heard of Donaghadee,  perhaps as the chorus of The Old Orange Flute: ‘Toora loo, toora lay, Oh, it’s six miles from Bangor to Donaghadee.’ [I know, it doesn’t rhyme!]

Ivan and I are in regular email correspondence. Regular from him at least; I’m a hopeless correspondent. But this email was special. It was to announce the arrival of Ivan and Claire’s first grandchild:

‘The new arrival made an appearance yesterday, 1st March.  A baby boy, 8lb. 5oz., fair hair, no complications, mother and baby exceptionally well. Attached photos taken at 18 hours old.’

The new baby’s name is Reuben, a name I happen to be particularly fond of since one of my own grandchildren, and my first male grandchild, is also called Reuben.

Ivan has been a little bit anxious about being a grandfather, so I sought to reassure him by sending him the script of ‘Second Chance Dad’, which I wrote for National Radio’s Top of the Morning programme in 1998. Curiously enough, it was broadcast on the occasion of my own grandson Reuben’s fourth birthday.

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Grandchildren are special. Talk to any doting grandparent – and ‘doting’  grandparents are the sole variety – and they will inform you, with absolute assurance, that their grandchild is the most intelligent, the most beautiful, the most talented creature that ever breathed air. Where their children’s children are concerned, grandparents are devoid of modesty, without shame, incapable of rational assessment. The child may be the ugliest thing that nature spawned, it may have the manners of a tomcat, the intelligence of a flea, the personality of a rock, and all the charm of masticated chewing-gum, but to its grandparents it will remain the apotheosis of every human virtue, a thing of beauty, whose loveliness increases and is a joy for ever – to paraphrase Mr Keats. Read the rest of this entry »

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GRANDCHILDREN AREN'T FOR SMACKING

GRANDCHILDREN AREN'T FOR SMACKING

Really exciting day yesterday. Got a job as an extra on the Russell Brown Show Media 7. It’s my favourite show and Russell is my hero. AND it was going to be all about smacking, and these people who want to smack their kids make me really, really cross. So I turn up at the studio and the nice receptionist asks me who I am and I tell her my name and that I’ve got a job as an extra on the Russell Brown Show and I’m playing a panellist. And she says, ‘Walk this way, Mr Edwards.’ And there’s drinks and crisps with onion dip (my favourite) and you get taken to make-up and everything. And Judy has told me to get the make-up lady to give me some eyelashes, which is sort of embarrassing, but I get the eyelashes anyway. And we go into the studio and are shown where to sit behind the desk. (Just like John Campbell or Paul Holmes) And I’m sitting in the middle, between Larry Baldock (who isn’t my hero) and a reporter whose name is Matt Nippert which I think is really funny. And Russell has to wear this thing in his ear so the producer can tell him the questions and he’s complaining that it’s uncomfortable and is spoiling the look of his jacket. And a lady tells the audience how to clap and somebody says, “We’re recording. Five seconds.” And my heart is pounding. And Russell introduces everybody and I’m going to be on the telly and I can hardly breathe. Then they show a really funny film and Russell starts to ask Mr Baldock really tough questions, which is why he is my hero. And it’s all so real and I’m so cross with Mr Baldock that I forget I’m an extra and start interrupting and asking Mr Baldock questions myself and saying quite rude things. And anyone who’s ever watched Ricky Gervais knows that extras are always trying to hog the limelight when they’re supposed to be seen and not heard and only speak when they’re spoken to. And Russell ignores my bad behaviour and goes on talking to Mr Baldock and the reporter with the funny name. And I keep quiet for a bit, but what Mr Baldock is saying is driving me nuts and I can’t help it and start interrupting again. And Russell is just brilliant and instead of getting cross makes a joke and says, “Maybe you should have your own show, Brian.” Which is a really funny idea. And then the show is over and Judy and I go home. And I’m upset because I’ve embarrassed myself and Judy says not to be silly. Anyway it was still really exciting and Russell is still my hero and I was going to tell you what Mr Baldock said, but the show is on the telly tonight and that would spoil the surprise. Well maybe I could tell you just one thing which Mr Baldock said which was the thing that got me crossest of all and made me forget my manners. Mr Baldock said that he smacks his grandchildren, with their parents’ permission of course. I’ve got ten grandchildren and I could never smack any of them. It’s hard to describe really. It’s just that I think the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren should be different than between parents and children. Grandchildren are there to be spoiled. Grandparents always say yes to everything (unless it’s going to hurt or something’s going to get broken of course). “Granddad, can I…? Nana, can we…? Of course you can, darling.” That’s the joy of being a grandparent that you can be so much more indulgent than you were as a parent. You’re there to lend a sympathetic ear, to be an unconditional friend, an ally. What’s that Helen Reddy song? “You and me against the world.” Being with your grandparents shouldn’t be just the same as being at home with Mum and Dad. It should be better. I can’t see how smacking could make it better. Anyway we’re off to Brisbane tomorrow for a few days. I like Brisbane. The sun is always shining and the buildings are really nice and we always stay at this really neat hotel just opposite the …….

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Why I Am Opposed To Gay Adoptions

ba_marriage124jrs1I am opposed to any change in the law which would allow gay couples to adopt children. My opposition is not rooted in homophobia. I was an early and vocal supporter of homosexual law reform in New Zealand; I approve of civil unions; I can see no good reason why gays should not be able to marry; I don’t doubt that a gay couple can be loving and responsible parents; I regard the argument that children raised by gay parents will turn out to be gay themselves as nonsense. Sexual orientation is genetically determined.

My opposition to allowing gay couples to adopt is rooted in my own early experience as the only child of a solo parent, my mother. I never knew my father.  I described the  lifelong effect of that situation in my memoir Daddy was a German Spy:

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To Smack Or Not To Smack

Here’s the thing I find difficult to understand – that any civilised person should be so upset by the idea of it being against the law to hit children that they would go to the trouble of organising a  petition to parliament seeking a referendum on the issue, with the express aim of having that law overturned. Read the rest of this entry »

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