I travelled South this week with one of those people who is worse than stupid. What is worse than stupid you say? It is those that don’t know the answer, know that they don’t know but offer an answer anyway. The worst of all of these is the parent, particularly bad because they are in a position of trust and, in short, they are abusing it. Monday’s example was an apparently educated and considerate parent, well presented children and careful consideration of snacks attested to the attention that mum gave the role.
Of the two children it was the young lad that asked the questions, at an age when there are no preconceived ideas of sexual stereotypes it is the boys that challenge their environment the most. The lad wanted to know about trains, stations, people, houses and pretty much everything that he could see. This was no mindless chatter he genuinely wanted to know the answers to his questions, mum was not equipped to provide them. Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not criticising mum for not being able to answer the questions, they were not within her knowledge. If faced with questions over bra sizes and show manufacturers I would be equally ill-equipped.
My concern is that mum didn’t respond with, an altogether reasonable, explanation that she was unable to furnish the young lad with the answers. She didn’t even resort to accessing the interweb via her smart phone, no she made it up and very badly at that. The question regarding the overhead wire was answered with “that is for the lights, the diesel engine pulls the train and the wire keeps the lights on”. A debate on looking out over a town was answered with “they have to build railways high to reach the wire”. Clattering over crossings was “where the driver gets out to change the direction of the train”.
There really was no stopping this woman, for every question she had a mindless answer. What is it that she thinks that she has achieved with this exercise? Does she think that she is correct, I doubt that very much, so why lie? When little Billy goes to school and gets slapped about by the kid whose dad is a train driver will she feel bad? I really don’t understand why, in the modern world, people feel the need to lie their children about basic things. Yes Father Christmas is a myth, along with the tooth fairy and happy marriage but they are fairy tales established for children, they are not the result of questions.
There is no shame in telling your children that you are unable to answer a question but to set them on their path with deliberate misinformation is pointless and more than a little mean. More importantly, as witnessed by the smirks on that particular trip, we can all hear you and frankly you sound like an idiot.