How do you teach your kid the difference between giving people the benefit of the doubt and believing everything everyone tells you.
I haven't figured it out yet, or I would've explained it to Biscuit before he got in trouble at day care.
Biscuit and some of his friends were playing at day care when another little boy came up and started talking to them. The talking boy has a speech problem, so Biscuit and the others were having a hard time understanding what he was saying. The talking boy finally just walked away.
Biscuit said to his friends, "I can't understand what he says sometimes."
"That's because he's speaking Chinese," one of the other boys said.
There's a boy in Biscuit's class who was adopted from Africa. So I guess having a so-called Chinese boy in his class didn't really faze Biscuit.
Biscuit came home and told me the whole story, which led to a lengthy conversation about how the boy is actually NOT from China, even though his friend said it was true.
And of course, Biscuit argued with me. "But Mom," Biscuit said, "he IS from China."
I wanted to say, "Does he LOOK Chinese?" but as small as the world is these days, he could easily be from China without having Chinese ancestry. I wanted to say, "Can't you understand SOME of his words?" but I didn't think that conversation would head in a positive direction either.
So finally, I landed on the "not everyone talks the same, so you never make any comments about how someone talks" train of thought.
He seemed to get it, but just in case, I wanted to tell his teacher.
The very next morning, when I dropped off Biscuit, I pulled his teacher to the side and told her what happened. I explained to her that Biscuit absolutely believes the boy is from China, and that even though there would be no malice in him mentioning it, it still might hurt the boy's feelings.
She laughed and shook her head. Apparently, she's seen this kind of thing before.
But then that afternoon, when they were having circle time, the teacher was going over their sight words, and the boy mispronounced one of them.
"That's not how you say it," one of the other boys in the class said.
"It's okay," Biscuit said. "He's saying it in Chinese."
There was a note to see the teacher on Biscuit's paper that afternoon. She said she was glad I had told her because at least she knew that Biscuit didn't mean what he said in a bad way. And after the talks we've had, I think he finally gets it.
I think on this particular subject, Biscuit now has a better idea of what not to say, but what about the other 50,000 ways he could possibly insult someone? And what about all those people who will spew lies just to see if anyone will believe them?
I guess this will be a case-by-case process, and it makes me tired just thinking about it.