Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions

A long time ago, Martha said – after one of our more difficult, “crying at the kitchen table” moments – “In ten years, we’ll be laughing about this … as we’re recovering from our face lifts!”

Well, it’s been ten years (actually, more) … and we are laughing (even though we are not recovering from face lifts … yet) … but it doesn’t make the painful parts hurt any less.

We are making light of many things – mostly ourselves! – but there is plenty that is not funny, and never will be.

It’s not funny when your kid is not invited on playdates or to parties.

It’s not funny when homework is a debilitating battle for both you and your child, every single night.

It’s not funny when no one seems to recognize and appreciate all the wonderful things in your child.

It’s not funny when you are terrified for your child’s emotional welfare and what the consequences of that may be (screw the academics – is he going to make it out of K-12 school alive and with his ego intact??)

And what’s also not funny are the stupid things people say to you as you are trying to deal with all this, and help your child through.

Remember MAD Magazine’s “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions”?

As a teacher (this is Ruth here), my standard line is, “There are no stupid questions.” And as a teacher, for the most part ( 🙂 ) – that is true.

As a parent, however – not so much.

There are plenty of stupid questions, and comments.

OK, we’ll be PC and use some more PC words: uneducated, rude, insensitive, hurtful (most likely unintentionally, but still…) … a lot more come to mind, but we’ll leave it there.

How many times have we wished we had a snappy answer to all the stupid things that people said to us?

We’ve been polling people about the most hurtful thing someone said to them about their child. You would not believe some of the responses. Well, maybe you would, if you’ve heard things like this:

“I don’t know what I’d do if I had a child like Jimmy.”

“My son is afraid Jimmy will ruin his birthday party, so would you please not bring him?”

Really, people? Really?

Did you hear what you just said?

We’ve been trying to come up with snappy answers to these and other questions and comments. But so far, we just haven’t been able to.

Because even after 10+++ years …. even though our now-20-something kids are now doing great (and have wonderful friends and lots of successes), and we are now laughing about a lot of the rest of it …. it still hurts.

And probably the most painful thing is to know that, as hard as all this was for us … it was a hundred times worse for our kids.

So maybe the point is not to come up with snappy answers at all, but to find a way to educate others, open their eyes, and change the systems and attitudes in the first place?

Definitely. But the Mama Bear in us would still like to go back in time, pull out some snappy answers to those REALLY stupid questions, and let ‘er rip!