Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Princess Bride and Parenting

When you have a dream,  do you always try to figure out why you dreamed what you did? I do, and similarly, when I have a thought that seems to come out of nowhere, I also start working backwards - trying to figure out why that particular thought popped into my head. Recently, my son, Luke, tweeted the following:

 Luke Harris 

Me and Colby watching 7 brides for 7 brothers. How can you not love the Berry House?

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is clearly not the movie, The Princess Bride, but The Princess Bride is the movie my brain heard when I read Luke's tweet - probably because I really like it and really don't like Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. (Or, maybe I just need to pay more attention to what I'm reading.) But any time I think of The Princess Bride, I think of the following scene.

The words from that scene have, I guess, subconsciously been hovering at the back of my brain, waiting for an opportune moment to come to the forefront. That moment happened Wednesday.

Our Wednesday trip to Springfield for Mary Grace's violin lesson had a couple of trying moments.  We were multitasking - working on one of her writing assignments for Classical Conversations.  She was composing a poem, but she was not excited about it. Uncharacteristically cantankerous, she was answering black to my every white.
A more characteristic moment
After some "robust" exchanges, we settled into the yucky silence that follows those times. My frustration and exasperation must have been the catalyst those words from The Princess Bride needed to stop hovering and dash to the forefront. But instead of thinking

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya.
You killed my father. Prepare to die."

I parodied it, albeit only mentally, for the parenting situation that was about to make me blow a gasket.

Hello. I am your parent.
You will stop sassing or you will die.*

Now, remember, I'm not saying any of this out loud. Just me and my thoughts. But I actually thought this was pretty clever. And I love clever. So this immediately lightened the moment and I realized that this technique could help me in other tense parenting moments.

If a child disobeys...

Hello. I am your parent.
You will obey. Prepare to do so.

If a child thinks they know it all....

Hello. I am older and wiser.
You are young and stupid. Prepare to learn.

If a child doesn't put stuff back...

Hello. I just neatened this. 
You messed it up. Prepare to clean.

If a child argues....

Hello. I know how this ends.
You will lose. Prepare to surrender.

I'm warning my kids right now. I can see similar Princess Bride parodies in your futures. The possibilities are endless! And how welcome is a little light-heartedness in the middle of a tense situation.

So, we've gone from a tweet about a movie, to a different movie, to a relatively famous quote, to parodies on that quote that have made me smile about some of the tougher aspects of parenting. Go figure how all that works, but it does make me look forward to future tweets.

Hello. My name is Shelley Harris.
You read my post. Prepare to stop.



  1. Oh my goodness Shelley, thanks for the laugh when I really needed one! I may put this "parenting strategy" into practice. :)

  2. Oh my goodness is right!! I laughed so hard Jagger just looked at me like I had lost it! Those are beautiful! I may have to have my own mother make me some subway signs with these on them... I will give credit where it's due if I do have those done!

  3. Glad to be of service! We parents have to stick together!

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