'Because of my bizarre personal life, which I cannot be proud of,
I have been blessed with 35 years of small children and I can honestly say I have loved every minute.
I had the pleasure of feeding the baby this morning and that for me is what being a father is all about.
'I'm terribly lucky with my children. We all love the same things: opera,
theatre, books, music. It creates a great bond,
especially now that they are mostly grown up and I have become a friend rather than a father.
'I don't believe in physical violence.
I have been guilty of slapping my children in anger,
but I don't condone it.
I'm sure I have not been a deeply attentive father but I have always tried to be available.
I'm here if they need me,
always on the basis that they ring me.
As soon as you start chasing them to ask why they have not been in touch,
you impose this terrible burden of guilt.
My parents did it to me and I would never do it to my children.'
'I was young when they were born, only around 25,
and I admit I found the responsibilities and limitations quite irksome.
It aged me quickly, but at the same time it kept me young,
which something I have always valued.
'As they became teenagers, they introduced me to things I could have drifted away from:
music, youth culture, clothes.
In a funny way that has been invaluable as far as running the agency has been concerned.
I have never felt out of touch.
'Because I was struggling to establish the business when they were young there were things I missed:
first concerts, sports days. I'm sad about that, but there are compensations now,
like being able to take them on holiday to the south of France.
'They get on well with a lot of our friends and they come to parties with us
and advertising awards ceremonies without feeling intimidated.
I think it has been an advantage that I do something they see as glamorous and interesting.'
'My first child was born just as I was about to be elected onto the Greater London Council,
and the others followed in quite quick succession.
My wife and I vowed that we would carve out time for them but since
I have become more and more politically active,
time has become a real problem.
'I make it a condition that I will only accept weekend meetings and public appearances
where there are facilities for one or more of the kids to come with me.
If I did not they would just get squeezed out.
This way they have a sense of what I do when I am not with them
and there is no feeling of Daddy disappearing.
'I've noticed more and more Mps bringing their kids to the House.
Maybe we are all becoming more conscious of the need to involve our children in our lives.'
'My first marriage broke up when Kate and Bonnie were quite young,
so I was forced to examine the whole area of fatherhood more closely
than I might otherwise have done.
I made enormous efforts to stay in touch with the children.
My ex-wife and I even experimented with living next door to each other for a while,
so they could come and go as they wished,
but I think Kate and Bonnie would say now that they found that quite confusing.
'Kate has said in interviews that I was always there for her,
but I am not sure I was a very good father.
It is true I was around a lot, but,
like a lot of Seventies parents,
I think I treated the kids as adults too soon.
Kate was complaining only the other day that we were too liberal.
I think I could have introduced more systems, more order.
Instead I took this very loose approach. I regret that now.
'I still worry about my elder daughters as much as I do about my youngest.
In that way your kids never leave you.'
"I was ready for kids. I'd hit 30, met my wife,
we had a lovely house, so we thought,.. "
"Why carry on going to the shops every Saturday
spending our money on new sofas,
when we could have a kid instead?"
"Having my daughter Betty has forced me
to come to terms with who I am and what I am.
You feel you are doing something very special
when you conceive a child,
and you are. But you are also becoming just
one more parent in a great long line of parents.
It's a great leveller.
'I do resent it occasionally but
if ever there is a moment of irritation,
it is dispelled by just one look at her.
A baby's smile is the greatest self-preservation
mechanism in the world. It can melt a grown man."
Read the news extract. Is there a similar trend in your country
statistics show that for the first time in the UK,
households consisting of two parents
and their children are in the minority.
The majority of households are now made up
of single people living alone,
single people sharing, and single parents and their children.
The government believes that this trend
is set to continue.......
Which characteristics on the list would you personally find most difficult?
Is there any behaviour not mentioned that also drives you mad?
Does anyone you live or have lived with have the faults described in Exercise 3?
Are you guilty of any of these bad habits?
Wish GRAMMAR NOTE:
Wish + SIMPLE PAST - to express a wish about the present
Wish + PAST PERFECT - to express a wish about a past situation
N.B. For a wish about the future, we usually use a modal verb "could" or "would"