The Third Leader: Happy families

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The Independent Online

Splendid news for those who bemoan the decline in family life: according to Government statistics, more people in their twenties are living at home with their parents. So there. The young, goodness knows, have their critics, which makes it especially heartwarming to contemplate this rediscovery of the advantages of the auld hearth.

And, let's be honest, such advantages had appeared rather out of favour. Previous tyro adults, it seemed, were not at all interested in drawing on that vast repository of knowledge and experience possessed by every parent. Indeed, there was almost an impatience with helpful advice and comment, whether on the subject of, say, international affairs, or changes not always for the better, particularly in the fields of music, sport and fashion. No takers, not even when it was accompanied with instructive personal anecdote which could always bear repetition.

Well done, then, young 'uns! I see in my mind's eye a typical dinner table at the head of which sits the father, with fork halfway to mouth, passing on some invaluable nugget, while the twenty-somethings listen admiringly, waiting patiently for their chance to add an encouraging, "that's absolutely fascinating, do tell me more."

Let us not, either, please, make too much of some recent research in Italy suggesting that, to put it bluntly, board and lodging and such are the bribes parents pay their children in return for being listened to. How cynical can one get? The very idea! This trend is the result of a growing maturity and sensitivity in both parents and children. He's still talking, by the way. Something about not going out looking like that.

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