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Want To Make Your Kids Hate Reading?

, , , , | Related | March 12, 2021

My dad can be super strict for the stupidest reasons. One of the big things that he hates is us “buying rubbish,” particularly when it comes to reading. Everything always has to be “useful” or you have to “learn something from it.” He never gets just reading for pleasure or liking good stories.

One day, I am going into a bookstore to spend some birthday money I got from one of my relatives. There’s an autobiography by a famous footballer I admire that’s been released. I wanted this for my birthday, but suspiciously, I got something else that I definitely didn’t ask for! I have a feeling my dad was the one who vetoed it!

I take the book off the shelf and start to walk toward the checkout. Immediately, my dad stands in front of me. 

Dad: “What are you buying?”

Me: “I’m getting that book by [Famous Footballer].”

Dad snatches it from me and gives me a funny look.

Dad: “Oh, you don’t want that!” 

Me: “Yes, I do. He’s my favourite player!”

Dad: “Come on. He’ll be yesterday’s fish and chips soon. You want something much better than this rubbish!”

Me: “No, I don’t, actually. I’ll just go buy it.”

Dad puts the book back on the shelf and grabs my arm.

Dad: “No, you are not wasting your money on that. Let’s get something else for you!”

Me: “Dad, I want that book.”

He drags me over to the literature sections and thrusts a book into my hand.

Dad: “Buy this one.”

He’s given me “Of Mice And Men.” I immediately frown at him.

Me: “Why?”

Dad gives me an “Are you stupid?” look.

Dad: “You’re reading this at school, aren’t you? Buy this and read it!”

Me: “I already have a copy! I don’t need this one.”

Dad: “There’s no harm going over your text again.”

Me: “Dad, no!”

Dad slams the book back on the shelves and drags me over to the history section. 

Dad: “Now this is what you want: a cartoon history of Britain!”

Me: “I don’t care about this stuff. Let me buy the book I want!”

Dad: “Fine. How about a book on the ancient Egyptians?”

Me: “NO!”

Dad: “Okay, how about this one?!”

He thrusts a book about Greek legends into my hands.

Dad: “You need to buy something useful, not that crap! Either you buy something decent or not at all!”

Me: “What’s the problem with me reading what I want? I don’t want any of these books.”


He starts dragging me out of the store. A few patrons are giving him concerned looks.

Me: “Dad, I want to get my book!”


My mum and sister enter the store and see him angrily dragging me away. Mum stops him in his tracks! 

Mum: “What on earth is going on? Why are you yelling at him?”

Dad: “He wanted to buy that!

He points to the footballer’s book as if it’s diseased.

Mum: “So what? Let him buy it; it’s his money to spend!”

Dad: “No! I refuse to let him buy rubbish!”

Sister: “Dad, for goodness’ sake, stop being so mean! You know how much he wanted that book! Just let him buy it.”

Dad: “NO! Let’s leave.”

Mum: “Just because your parents were cruel and controlling over what you bought, it doesn’t mean you have to be! He will buy that book and you can wait outside!”

Dad: “Stop causing a scene!”

Sister: “She’s not the one throwing a temper tantrum in a bookstore, Dad! [My Name] is being better behaved than you right now!”

My dad gives her an angry look and tries to say something

Mum: “[Dad], wait outside and calm down, now!”

My dad stomped out of the store and, finally, I was able to get my book. On the way back to the car, my dad started grumbling about how my generation was “becoming stupid, reading that junk!” Thankfully, my mum snapped at him to be quiet and reprimanded him for his poor attitude. He sulked all the way home.

This still ranks as one of the best autobiographies I ever read and was well worth the money. Years later, I got the author to sign it. After that, my dad stopped making comments on the books that we bought. I found out that his parents apparently refused to let him read for fun and this had a very negative effect on him. He now reads all kinds of books.

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