A Good Chuckle

A Good Chuckle

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rights and Rights and Writes

My oldest child started kindergarten at the beginning of this school semester and the curriculum is surprising! After receiving her numerous, gigantic workbooks and textbooks, I thought back to when I was in kindergarten and what I learned back then. I am absolutely positive that nothing I was taught in kindergarten involved the difference between rights and responsibilities. Yet this is exactly what my daughter is learning in Social Studies.

"Rights are things that you are allowed to do by law. Like," I try to search for some examples, "breathing clean air. You have a right to breathe. You also have a right to drink clean water. And to speak your mind."

"What does it mean to speak my mind?" she asks me. Good, she is actually listening to me.

"Speaking your mind is when you say how you are feeling. You know when you come up to me and tell me that you want chocolate, for example. You have a right to do that, right?"

"I have a right?" she asks.

"Right," I reply hastily, realizing immediately afterward that this choice of words could probably set me back 10 minutes or so.


"I mean, correct. Yes, honey, you have rights."

"I have rights? Ooooh cool!" Laughing, she calls out to her brother across the room, "I have rights!" He was working on a puzzle and couldn't be bothered about the benefits of citizenship his sister was discovering.

She gets it, good to go, right? Right?

"Okay, so," I was hunting for verification that she understood, "can you explain to me what a right is?"

She looked at me with her head sort of tilted and she had her face squinted up so as to suggest she were really thinking hard about it. After a second, which at the time I just figured was for dramatic effect, she pointed her left hand to her right arm and lifted her right arm, suggesting this was the answer to my question.

I didn't immediately understand. She was pointing at her arm and looking at me expectantly. "What are you doing?" I asked her. I was not comprehending.

"Right, right!" She exclaimed and pointed to her right arm more excitedly than before. "This is my right!"

"Yes honey, that is your right arm. But that isn't the kind of rights that I am talking about. Remember what we just went over? You have a right to speak your mind, breathe clean air, right?"

"Right!" she said again, she was still raising and pointing to her right arm. "Right! My rights!"

I began to feel deeply troubled that either my daughter had evolved into an expert troll overnight or I wasn't getting through to her. "No, Honey. Not that right. That's your right arm."

"Yeah Dad, my right!"

"I know Honey, that is right. That's your right, but it isn't the right that we are talking about right now. Like the right to eat chocolate, right?"

"Oh." She says, simply, and puts her arm back down to her side. "I have a right to eat chocolate?"

"Maybe after dinner. Look. Focus. Can you explain to me what rights are so that we can move forward with today's lesson?" I asked, the gentleness in my voice began to give way to frustration a little bit.

She thought for a moment again, exactly the same as before, and then used her right arm to mime out the motion of writing words on the paper in front of her, excitedly making noises expecting confirmation that this was, indeed, the answer to my question, "Hmm? Hmm? Hmm?"

I sighed audibly, "That is write like write a word. Not right like a right to eat chocolate. Think about what we are working on right now, alright?"

"Right!" she laughs.

"Ugh..." I growled miserably. I called out to my girlfriend, who came running into the room. "Can you help me teach her this one?"

"Right now?" she asks, unaware of the semantic dilemma I have been sorting out.

"Right!" My daughter continues to laugh.

"We're talking about rights and responsibilities. She gets the responsibilities, but we are stuck on rights right now."

"Rights!" My daughter says again.

My girlfriend looked at me like I was nuts, "She already knows this one. You're on last week's lesson."

Expert troll it is.

In The Woods Entertainment
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