Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Literally? Are You Serious?
Play by ear
Gone to pot
Ace up one's sleeve
It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings
Hair of the dog
Beat around the bush
See the big picture
Cut the mustard
Turn the tables
Foot the bill
Pay through the nose
Full of beans
I'm told that I'm sarcastic (moi?). And I am - today (muwhahaha). It wasn't always that way.
When I was younger (younger than I am today), I had problems with how people talked. I took things very literally. And that was a real problem when you live in a house where sarcasm, sayings, ironies and double entendres riddled the conversations.
A good part of my childhood was spent hearing "it was only a joke" and "you can't take things so seriously" or "that's not what I meant". I was confused, hurt and insulted much of the time.
My mom then starting explaining what these sayings meant and why we say them. It was like a lightbulb went off in my head. I discovered a love of words and word play. I started researching words, quotes and sayings and where they came from and how they became a part of everyday language. Then it became easier to understand the complexities of speech. Now I can (and love to) use sarcasm and sayings. They make up a large part of my humour. And let's face it, as a parent, using sarcasm in a fun way can make the difference between laughing and crying.
When I realized that the boys were literal thinkers, I remembered the difficult time I had. I remembered the hurt feelings and the confusion. And I didn't want the boys to have the same issues. So we started early, explaining every sarcasm, every saying that we said. We explained why this saying was popular and where it came from. We would explain that what was said was sarcasm and sarcasm was a kind of joke. My husband and I would joke with the boys, making larger than necessary smiles to show the boys that it was a joke. If we didn't know what a certain saying meant, we would all gather around the computer and look it up.
I just didn't want the boys feeling hurt or insulted because someone said something that would normally be harmless but when misinterpreted can insult someone.
Their teachers have excellent senses of humour. And each teacher's humour is different than the other, so the boys are exposed to a wealth of styles. It's helped them understand that joking is not insulting. And not everything is the 'bible truth'.
As an example:
Aaron had homework for two days. On the third day he didn't have any homework, but his teacher joked that he was going to get Aaron a wheelbarrow to carry ALL the homework home. Years before, Aaron would have been upset (homework) and confused (wheelbarrow?). This time, not so much. Aaron told me on the way home that it was 'a funny' and that it wasn't really true. He got it! He didn't think it was particularly funny (he's not fond of homework) - but he got it.
So now the boys are getting our silly sarcasm and lame jokes. They may not like them - we do get our fair share of rolled eyes and sighs - but they understand them. And when they're out 'in the world', maybe - just maybe - they'll be a little less insulted, confused and hurt.
This mom can only hope.
Posted by Angel G at 9:46 AM