Thursday, October 9, 2008

What Would You Have Done?

Yesterday was The Kid's first meeting of The Math Club and he was so excited. As you all know, the little guy loves his math. This is also his very first after school activity. I could barely wait to hear how it had gone and was it fun and who else from his class was there and was the teacher nice – all those questions percolated in my head all afternoon.

The Kid had a great time. It was fun. There were friends from his class there. The teacher was nice. They played some games and even ran a few minutes over the allotted time, which is always a good indicator of a fun time.

After we had been home a little while, The Kid called me over to where he was working on a project on the computer and said this to me: Mom, Isabella said that Obama kills babies while they're still in their mommy's tummies. Is that true?

Okay. I'll give you a minute to compose yourself before I go on…

The whole story went something like this. Isabella's mother was there to "help" with the math club activities. Once the kids were all sitting down she said, "Now, I have a chance to ask you all who you're voting for president." The Kid said (with a good deal of astonishment) that everyone said they were voting for McCain. (Now I assume, what this woman was really asking was who are your parents going to vote for, for surely she knows that seven year olds do not yet have the vote.) When The Kid said "Obama," little Isabella made the baby killer comment.

What, pray tell, would you have done?


  1. Oh dear.

    No advice, just oh dear.

  2. You need to call the school. Totally inappropriate conversation for Math club. There are pretty strict guidelines for volunteer behavior. Make sure the school knows, she overstepped the line. When I took Lauren and Will to see Obama I had to cover their eyes when we got to the side of the building with the protesters with the poster of a severed baby head. Everyone sucks but us!!

  3. Hey Boots! Thank god we didn't run into then this morning or there might have been some harsh words on the sidewalk...

  4. WOW . . . I'd be tempted to call the school too. Even if that particular Mom shared your views, her behavior was inappropriate. And your poor boy! my daughter would be worrying about that comment for weeks. How is he doing?

  5. Hi VM. The Kid is okay - thanks for asking. I immediately told him that was a lie, it was NOT true and we talked about why people might tell lies, particularly about politics.

    He's got a tender heart and things like this can really freak him out. I'm relieved that he seemed to sail past it. Now I, on the other hand, am still fuming.

  6. As a teacher, I get this sort of stuff all the time. I immediately put on my Mary Poppins voice and say "well, we all have different beliefs that's for sure" and then "who wants a skittle?" I get off the subject lickety split. The kids really don't care about politics at that age-they just parrot what they hear their parents say.

    I'm glad the kid took it in stride.

    If you bring it up to the mom, she will probably get all self righteous on you. I'm not even sure if I would bother.

    When I hear kids say stuff like this, it makes me so sad.

  7. Yeah, it makes me sad too. And I wouldn't bring it up with the mom because that is EXACTLY what would happen.

    What I did do was make sure The Kid knows why we are voting for Obama. I made sure he knows it is not his job to educate or convince his classmates of the awesomeness of Obama. We talked about the secret ballot and how he doesn't have to tell anyone how we are going to vote if he doesn't want to. It's okay to say, none of your business.

    We worked on some funny answers, my favorite being this one: "My parents are voting for ME - I'm secretly running for president!"

    We talked about being respectful to people who have different opinions and beliefs, and how that is one of the great things about our country is we CAN disagree and still be neighbors and friends.

    By the next Math Club meeting, the election will be over and hopefully the talk will be of prime numbers or something equally enthralling.

  8. Oh, you so definitely need to go to the school administration with this. This mother needs to be told, by someone like the principal, that this type of behavior is totally unacceptable.

    And I thought it was bad when E came home saying that one of his friends told him that if Obama was elected, that they would have to have an extra hour of school all day. Turns out, this was the same kid who told E that McDonald's Chicken was made out of cardboard.

    I've told E that it's really no one else's business who we (or eventually he) vote for.

  9. Wow. You reacted with much more maturity than I would have.

    Meredith's crowd when she was a teenager contained lots of Conservative Christian Homeschoolers. Once, she wrote something on her blog about the difference between preventing unwanted, unplanned pregnancies and making abortion illegal. She cited programs supported by Democrats, and denied funding by Republicans. She made the point that if one really wanted to put a stop to abortion, they would look at the reasons that women seek them and start there, not wait until someone was pregnant and wave signs and scream at them as they made their way into the clinic.

    Anyway. What would I have done? I would have turned into Puffer Mom and put the fear of God into that woman. But, that wouldn't have been the best thing for my child. See why school was not a good fit for us? ;)

  10. I have to tell you, Laura, the first thing I said to Lefty after The Kid was in bed that night was, "home schooling is looking better and better!"

  11. Wow. I'd make sure my kid knew the truth and have a larger conversation about prejudice and fact checking. He'll confront more of this and you can't damage control each incident. Give him the tools to be a critical thinker. But oy.