Crazy Comments

Whenever you walk through those big automated sliding doors at Walmart, all bets are off.

There’s no telling what you will hear.

There’s no telling what you will see.

There’s no telling what people will say.

I wonder if Walmart has sodium pentothol wafting through the air, because folks in Walmart will say just about anything. This is where crazy things fly out of seemingly normal folks’ mouths without stopping for moderation.

Currently, my kids are old enough that they seldom all accompany me to the store. But for a time there, comments I’d get were:

“My, you certainly have your hands full!” (duh.Tell me another one.)

“Are they all yours?” (Nope. I made the rounds of the neighborhood and volunteered to take the kids to Walmart because it sounded like fun.)

Said sympathetically to my little son with THREE big sisters, “Oh, poor guy! Three big sisters!”

Said with a sly smile, “You know what causes that right?” (Um, No, Haven’t figured it out yet. Please enlighten me.)

The craziest one was, “Do they all have the same Daddy?” (Yeah, like I’m going to discuss that with a total stranger in WALMART?)

Walmart Discount City

 Homeschooling Comments

When you homeschool,  you open yourself up to a whole different world of comments. Thankfully, I live in an area where people are amazingly supportive of homeschooling. I’ve never had a negative thing said to me about homeschooling. Or maybe it’s just that I was so busy trying to keep my kids from climbing the walls before I got our groceries paid for that I was completely oblivious to the snarks.

Anyway, I’ve heard stories about comments similar to these:

“Is that legal?”

“You’re going to ruin your kids for life.”

“You must be crazy! I couldn’t stand having my kids home with me all day!”

Then there’s that “What about socialization?” question.

 Comments from Loved Ones

These comments are hard enough to take from total strangers, but they can be even more hurtful when they come from people that we know, love, and whose opinions we value. It’s easy to let a snide comment roll off your back when the person doesn’t know you or your kids, but it is another thing entirely when an important person in your life questions your parenting and educational choices.

These comments can fester inside of us, “Does she really think that I am hurting my kids by keeping them home?”

These comments can cause huge arguments. “It’s none of your business how I educate my family!”

These comments can intensify the insecurity that many homeschooling parents already experience.” What was I thinking? He’s right! I have no business trying to teach these kids.”

These comments can stir up all kinds of yuck in our spirits because the decision to homeschool in most cases was not made lightly. Most of the time the loved ones who say these things don’t realize the time, prayer, and research that most parents invest before beginning homeschooling.

If you get a crazy comment from someone whose opinion you value, consider the following points.

  • Is this person routinely negative or critical of you or others? Sometimes, certain personalities get into a knee-jerk routine of questioning and criticizing other folk’s choices. Try not to take it personally. If the comments persist, you may want to gently and firmly clue them into the fact that your parenting and educational decisions are not up for public debate. If the criticism persists, every time they start in on you, gather your children and leave.
  • Does this person often interpret other people’s decisions as criticisms of their own choices? These people are often very insecure and interpret your homeschooling of your kids as a judgement on their own family’s educational choices. Make sure that you are not condemning of others’ choices and reassure them that you understand that all families are different and need different educational options.
  • Is this person operating from a place of genuine concern or just outright hostility? Grandparents may wonder how in the world their kids are going to navigate the “real world.” They may have no idea that homeschooling is a legitimate educational choice. Aunts and Uncles working in the educational realm may have met too many homeschoolers that are unprepared for upper level classes. You may need to gently and non-defensively point out that you understand that there are many homeschoolers that don’t do well in college, but there are also many public schoolers unprepared as well. Emphasize that you are equally concerned with college preparedness. Try to address their thoughts as best as you can if they are asking from the lens of genuine concern. If they are just hostile to the idea without ever listening to your thoughts, you may need to just change the subject.

It hurts when people we love misunderstand us. Some people, you are just never going to please no matter what. In that case, you just have to avoid the subject and try to limit contact.

Eventually, you will gain confidence in your educational choices. Hopefully, those who love you will come around once they figure out that you are not truly damaging your children for life.

 

Has anyone ever said anything crazy or discouraging to you about your family or your educational choices? I’d love to hear of some of the wild things that others have said to you or your kids.

 

 

***Photo Credit: Walmart Discount City by Ravi Patel via Flikr***

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