Uncommon Sense


Recently my 6 year old has asked me to define ‘Common Sense’.  This seems like such a simple request, but every time I opened my mouth to give her an answer I stumbled on what to say.  I finally Googled it and got ‘sound and prudent judgment’.  Shit, I don’t even know what that means, so I started giving her examples of what I thought was common sense.  “You know how I say to ‘Look both ways before crossing the street’?  Well it’s because I want you to think before doing something that could be dangerous”.  She looks at me and tells me that I didn’t answer her question, which is true.  I try again, “You know how you and your sister start smacking each other for no reason after you have been playing together for more than 30 minutes?  Well you should know not to do it and that is an example of common sense.”  She then tells me she didn’t ask me for an example she asked what it WAS.  Well let’s see, ‘Don’t fornicate if you aren’t willing to put up with your smart ass kids’ seems like a good way to define it.

This is why I don’t home school my kids and I do send them to these highly rated Northern Virginia schools.  I don’t want to answer questions that make me feel stupid and I don’t want to be responsible for teaching them things that are clearly beyond me.  I am still hung up on CVC, CVCe, CVVC and WTF from last month.  I actually had to Google that shit before I sat down to do homework with my first grader to ensure that I didn’t screw her up.  This is almost as bad as when I had to teach my other child abut synonyms.  “Well sweetie, synonyms are words that don’t sound alike but have the same meaning.  You understand right?  Ok let me give you some examples: Unattrative/Hideous, Fancy/Prissy, Popular/Slutty, Boring/Sober.”  Well that didn’t do a lot for future homework assignments, and I am still trying to explain the picture of mommy smiling and dancing while holding a wine glass (although she did get a ‘Good Job’ on that piece of art).  That’s why I leave this stuff to the teachers, they are the professionals and it gives me someone to blame if my kids don’t turn out right.

The next question my 6 year old asked was if everyone had common sense.  Well, that’s a whole different can of worms to open up and I don’t even know where to begin.  The simple answer is NO, the long answer is much more complicated.  I decided to tell her that some people have common sense while others have uncommon sense.  You’re already ahead of me now and know she asked what uncommon sense was.  “Well you remember last year when grandpa waited for grandma to leave and then climbed up an extension ladder in the snow and ice to cut some limbs and then fell and broke his back?  Well, that is uncommon sense (or as I like to call it dumbassedness – new word)”.  Being unsure that she understood it fully I decided to give a few more examples.

“You know how kids take the time to find their bicycle helmets and put them on, but don’t buckle them leaving them essentially as useless as no helmet?  How about when we are driving down the road and you scream at your sister for singing too loud and I just miss slamming into the car in front of me?  Think about when your sister knows her required reading needs to get done and she waits until 8:15 and then cries because she is too tired.”  These are all examples of uncommon sense.

I then went through a mental exercise of adults not using common sense.  There’s the person that airs all their dirty laundry on Facebook and then is all upset because everyone is talking about them.  Of course we are talking about you dumb ass, your life is nothing short of a Jerry Springer episode and it makes the rest of us feel good about ourselves.  There’s the person that jogs barefoot around our sub and will be paying a Podiatrist $5K later on this year.  There are the people that take their dog off the leash and then stand there and scream when the dog runs off.  Also a shout out to the people that stand there and say their child’s name over and over again when they see them doing something wrong, but never attempt to do anything else to stop the behavior.  Let’s not forget the recipients of the annual Darwin Award, that is dumb on a level most of us could never achieve even if we really tried.

I realize I have not always exercised the most sound and prudent judgment, but I am at least aware of it and savvy enough to point it out before someone else gets a chance.  Was I able to clarify to my 6 year old what common sense was?  Probably not, but I was able to leverage it into a blog which shows my resourcefulness.

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