Thursday, 17 May 2012
Beware the TAMP!
I used to be a patient man. In my younger days I showed remarkable tolerance for the vagaries of others, remaining serene while those around me would rise to these everyday irritations. But things are changing. That bounder called Age seems to be extracting tolerance from my temperament in the same way as it has been extracting melanin from my once ebony-black hair, rendering me a miserable git (with grey, straw-textured locks).
Take last week. On a visit to the local supermarket it was my misfortune to encounter an increasingly frequent modern day irritant: the think aloud model parent (or TAMP for short). Typically male, and accompanied by at least two precocious children, the TAMP broadcasts a running commentary of his thought processes as if to demonstrate to all those within earshot (and there are many) what a great parent he is.
“Can I have some sweets daddy?” the son asks, in a manner that anticipates (presumably from past experience) the opening of a dialogue.
“Oh can we?” echoes the daughter.
The TAMP halts his stride, puts hands on hips and in a loud voice proclaims, “Toby and Isabella, you ate a full packet of chocolate biscuits at your Aunt’s less than an hour ago, and mummy will be very cross if you don’t eat your tea tonight,” looking around as if searching for recognition for his worthy insistence on dietary constraints. Shaking his head to indicate (to any onlookers) his tolerance in continuing to debate the issue, he carries on, “There is way too much fat in those… they’re full of calories, and they will rot your teeth.”
As I escape (jaw-clenched and simmering) into the next aisle, the performance continues. Two minutes later, inadequately shielded by eight feet high shelving, I can just detect his rhetorical, “Your nana is seventy years old next Tuesday… should we get her a birthday card?” I skip a gangway to exclude the possibility of further encounters.
I suppose I should be encouraged that parents are routinely communicating with their offspring as equals, and that they take every opportunity to pass on their knowledge and wisdom. Similarly, the increasing prevalence of such patient and devoted guardians of the next generation can only augur well for the future. However, these qualities need not be performed in public places. Outside the home, good parents should be seen and not heard.