Welcome to another week of Ask Mr. Answer Dad, the know-it-all dad who knows everything worth knowing about raising children. If you want to know how to talk to your kids about politics, religion, or sex, Mr. Answer Dad is here to answer all your questions and/or make light of your situation.
Dear Mr. Answer Dad: My 5-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter recently started asking where babies come from. I said they came from my tummy, but they asked how they got in there in the first place. Help me, Mr. Answer Dad. What do I tell my kids? Uncomfortable in Des Moines.
Dear The Monks: Lie to them. Lie to them for as long as you can, until they start public school and learn it on the playground, like we did when we were kids. If you're lucky, your daughter will explain it to your son before he even starts school. Problem solved.
Dear Mr. Answer Dad: My kids went to bed thinking Hillary Clinton was going to be president, and woke up to a Donald Trump presidency instead. What do I tell my kids? Signed, Puzzled in PA.
Dear Mr. Answer Dad: I was laid off recently, and have spent the last few days "on vacation" with my family. But we're coming up on the time that I usually go back to work, and my kids will wonder why I'm home. What do I tell my kids? Thanks. Laying on the Couch.
Dear Couch Potato: First, I'm sorry you lost your job. Your boss is no doubt a jerk who will realize she made a terrible mistake, and your absence will leave an empty hole in her soul that she'll try to fill with bad fast food. She'll die sad and alone, and her three cats will feast on her corpse for several days before a neighbor calls the police about the terrible odor coming from her condo.
Wait, what was your question? Oh yeah, telling your kids. Tell them the truth. "I lost my job because they decided they didn't need me anymore. But I'm looking for a new one, and in the meantime, I get to spend more time with you."
Just leave out the part about the cats and your boss' corpse. Also, don't mention you were fired for photocopying your junk.
Dear Mr. Answer Dad: You didn't answer my question earlier. Puzzled in PA.
Dear Public Announcement: How did you get in here? I totally answered your question. Donald Trump is the president. Tell them that. Unless you're planning to move to Canada or New Zealand now, there's not much to tell. Just tell them the truth.
Dear Mr. Answer Dad: I want to move to Canada or New Zealand, but my kids are in a good school and have friends. What do I tell my kids? Signed, Fleeing From Florida.
Dear Flea: Ask your kids, "Have you ever seen snow? How would you like to see it seven months out of the year?" Also, say their friends were talking about them behind their backs. Finally, tell them you're all going on a really long vacation and will come back in four or eight years, depending on how things go here.
Dear Mr. Answer Dad: I think what Puzzled in PA means is, my kids have friends who are gay, in minority groups, in other religions, are from other countries, or are any of the other groups our new president hates. They're afraid of what could happen to their friends. What do we tell our kids? Signed, Waiting for 2020.
Dear 2020: Here's what you tell them: America is still a great country, made up of good people. Not everyone who voted for Trump believes in hatred. In fact, many do not.
Tell them, we will get through this, as a family, as a community, and as a country. It's going to be hard, but we have faced bigger challenges and prevailed. (The other side survived eight years of Obama, so we can put up with four years of Cheeto Hitler.)
And you tell them, 2020, that as long as your kids have their friends' backs, you've got theirs. That you'll stand up for your kids while they stand up for their friends. That you'll stand up for your neighbors and friends who need your help. Spend the next four years teaching them what it means to be be better than the bigotry and hatred shown by a deplorable few. Tell them, 2020, that your family stands for honor and goodness, which are the real American values, and that you will be strong for the people who need you to be strong.
Because it's what they'll tell their own kids one day.
Photo credit: The Des Moines, Iowa skyline (Tim Kiser, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.5)
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