Children's embarrassing words

“Mr. Johnson, your car is ready,” called the woman across the waiting room at the dealership.

I didn’t realize my leg had fallen asleep until I stood up. My knee buckled slightly with every step. Try as I might, I just could not walk normally. I made my way to the service counter, kind of dragging my right leg along, hoping I would not fall flat on my face. I leaned on the desk, unable to concentrate on what the woman was saying they had done to my car. All I could do was wonder if my leg would wake up before I had to take another step.

“What’s wrong with that man?” a young girl half-whispered in horror to her mother.

“Be quiet,” her mother whispered back, hoping I hadn’t heard. “He’s probably disabled, kind of like your uncle.”

“Oh, he’s like that,” she said in the normal tone of a child.

“Shush, you’re being rude.”

I felt my face heat up, and was certain if there had been a mirror it would be bright red. Now, I wasn’t sure if I wanted my leg to wake up. What would they think if I walked out with my normal gait?

After the woman at the desk handed me the key, I turned to leave. The mother instantly looked down. Her daughter waved and smiled. My leg was now in the tingly stages of waking up, so I limped out toward my car.

I felt a little sorry for the mother. If you have a child that can talk, your child has embarrassed you at least once.

When I was a child, my family, along with my grandparents, were at a neighbor’s house. A cobweb on the chandelier caught my eye. “Look at the pretty cobweb,” I said to my grandmother.

“Be quiet,” she said, “You’re not supposed to point out things like that.”

“But it’s pretty,” I said.

I meant it. To my six-year-old eyes, the play of the light off the cobweb was quite attractive. I did not understand what I had said that was offensive. My grandmother, who always tried to be very proper, was mortified. I’m not sure if the neighbors heard me. If they did, they probably felt a little sorry for my grandmother.

My children have done it to me more times than I can remember. We were at a magic show at Porter Library, and the magician was trying to make the point that water is not the only clear liquid. He asked, “Can anyone name a clear liquid other than water?”

The boy raised his hand. When the magician called on him, he said, “Gin.” The room erupted in laughter. Fortunately, anther child said, "So is vodka."

I’m not sure why we get so embarrassed by some of the things our children say. I don’t think many people judge us because our children may not have mastered all of the social niceties that we have. Most of the time, they probably feel a little sorry for us, because they’ve been there too.

RJ Johnson

I have been a priest for 16 years.  I spent the first four years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six years on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, before becoming the pastor at Advent Episcopal Church in Westlake in 2010.  If anyone would find it interesting I have a son and daughter, which I refer to as a matched set, a wife, a dog, and a cat.

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Volume 8, Issue 13, Posted 9:22 AM, 07.06.2016