Kids Say the Darndest Things

Reader Alan‘s parents receive a magazine called The Banner published by the Christian Reformed Church.

There’s a humor section in it and a recent issue had a compilation of silly things kids said… I’ve highlighted a few of them for you:

Your call: Kids just unaware of what they’re saying? Or an early start to sexism?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/carlosvalencia Carlos Valencia

    “When is it OK to kiss someone?” -”When they’re rich”.

    I see a reality show in Pam’s future.

  • Anonymous

    If it was kids being kids, that would be one thing. Things like this they’re taught, either by being told or seeing it. Hopefully they’ll grow up to be smart and think for themselves!

  • Buddiechick2006

    I love Martin’s answer to the date question!

  • Buddiechick2006

    I love Martin’s answer to the date question!

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelCluff Michael Cluff

    “When they’re rich” deserves a highlight too.  Early preparation for the GOP

  • Susanna

    It’s an early start to LEARNED sexism. These children are being brainwashed…MAJORLY.

  • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

    That first kid won’t have to worry about marrying anybody.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1580385201 Sharon Hall

    I think there’s a bit of overreaction here.  Kids are influenced not just by church, or what their parents say:   they trade information all the time, and alot of that is what they see on tv or hear from other kids.

    • Mary E Stimac

      That’s true, but it also doesn’t seem like the parents are tryin to dispel those sexist ideas.

    • Anonymous

      Also, a lot of the kids they interact with will likely be from that same church, giving it that much more influence. The themes in these answers just reek of biblical gender roles. :/

    • Tom

      This is a huge problem, and a flaw that affects both the entire modern school system and current thinking about child socialisation.  We expect kids to somehow learn how to act like adults, in adult society, by spending most of their time interacting exclusively with other kids.  The problem is potentially compounded with every successive generation of this as, barring other compensatory effects, the number of adult role models who actually know how to act like adults should also decrease as a result.

    • Anonymous

      Remember that many evangelical and fundamentalist Christians send their kids to Christian kindergarten, Christian high school, Christian college and only expose them to Christian news, Christian television, Christian radio and Christian music

    • Anonymous

      I agree, I don’t think a church is really to blame here. Still, they printed this up thinking it would be cute and funny though when it’s actually kind of horrifying, yet enlightening.

  • Tortuga Skeptic

    Honestly, most of the answers sound like the results of what kids have absorbed.  Lynette, may be o.k.

  • http://twitter.com/JASacmvp Justin A Smith

    Anita’s comment makes me sad, although while looking at any commercial for any cleaning product I can see how someone would think that.

  • Captainawesome

    I’m with Alan on this one.

  • Barbara

    I think that while in some small part, being a mostly single mom of 3 boys, that children tend to absorb lots of things in their environment at that age.  In and out of the home.  And it seems to be taking it a little to seriously at that stage of development to put to much weight into those statements. :P

  • http://www.nowhere-fast.net Tom

    The kids are exposed to their “normal” and a lot of what we see is unfortunate, but the scary thing is that the publication considers this for the “humor” section.

  • Rebecca Sparks

    I saw this list 10 or 20 years ago.   I couldn’t track down it’s origin with a lazy internet search–at least, not yet.  If you have someone who sends you smatzy poems with animated gifs and fun fact lists like “duck quacks don’t echo” and “everyone eats 2 spiders a year”, than check your e-mail.  That person has probably also sent this to you.

  • Mary E Stimac

    The highlighted ones are discouraging, but some of the others are frickin’ hilarious. God picks and then you find out who you’re stuck with. Waa! I think that message didn’t quite stick right in that kids head.

  • Mary E Stimac

    The highlighted ones are discouraging, but some of the others are frickin’ hilarious. God picks and then you find out who you’re stuck with. Waa! I think that message didn’t quite stick right in that kids head.

  • http://www.facebook.com/EvanGBettencourt Evan G. Bettencourt

    That the kids parrot what they see as the “proper” gender roles when taught that gender roles are one of the most important parts of their identity isn’t sexism, it’s just kids parroting what they’ve been taught.

    But that the kids are taught this at all?  That their “proper” gender roles are one of the most important parts of their identity?  Oh yeah, THAT’S sexism.  And the fact that the people composing this church newsletter felt this was appropriate is indicative of religion’s complicity in maintaining the patriarchal status quo.

  • http://www.facebook.com/EvanGBettencourt Evan G. Bettencourt

    That the kids parrot what they see as the “proper” gender roles when taught that gender roles are one of the most important parts of their identity isn’t sexism, it’s just kids parroting what they’ve been taught.

    But that the kids are taught this at all?  That their “proper” gender roles are one of the most important parts of their identity?  Oh yeah, THAT’S sexism.  And the fact that the people composing this church newsletter felt this was appropriate is indicative of religion’s complicity in maintaining the patriarchal status quo.

  • Achess

    Symptomatic of their parents sexism; they’re too young to realize.

  • Barbara

    Too all, I am an atheist.  When my children where younger, they all believed in Jesus at one time or another through influence and at this age they are always under influence.  They also believed in aliens.  And sometimes they wanted to ‘marry’ me when they grew up.  I think you are taking this too seriously and I wonder if some of it is because of where the ‘sayings’ came from.  Pull it out of the context of a church bulletin and you might lighten up a little. 

    • Anonymous

      Amen! Oops … well, you know what I mean.

      I, too, think some people are taking this waaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously and are over analyzing these quotes because they appeared in a church publication. I’m an atheist, but I  don’t feel compelled to criticize everything that comes out of a church.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Apparently:
    Alan, age 10 has picked up his father’s sense of entitlement.
    Kristen, age 10 has picked up her mother’s sense of resignation.
    Camille, age 10 idolizes her 23-year-old sibling.
    Lynette, age 8 knows too many boys like Alan, age 10.
    Martin, age 10 has picked up some cynicism somewhere.
    Pam, age 7 is where Martin, age 10 picked it up.
    Curt, age 7 will learn from the mistakes of his elders.
    Howard, age 8 is the elder who will make those mistakes.
    Anita, age 9 is the sister to Alan, age 10.

    • Anonymous

      Though I find it interesting how Lynette “Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough” and Pam “[kiss them] when they’re rich” are just as sexist as the other ones, but Hemant seems not to notice them because they aren’t aimed at girls. Double standards in our own community?

      • altarego

        I see your point, but I think the issue is that when the girls say things like that about boys, it’s not indicative of an entire culture of oppression.

        • Anonymous

          It is true that women have historically suffered the vast majority of sexism, but in Western Society today almost everyone believes in gender equality, so I don’t think it is fair to always assume the worst motives from the boys and the best motives from the girls. Also it is true that there are still parts of our society today where girls face sexism, but stereotypes can affect boys as well. For example, there are many boys who are struggling academically and the “boys are so dumb” jokes that you hear in schools today aren’t helping. So I don’t think it’s good to only look at this from one angle.

          • altarego

            I was not trying to deny the importance of policing masculinity–it’s even more rigid than the bounds of femininity. The point I was trying to make is that although sexism affects (and hurts) both sexes, women tend to have it worse on more issues.

            • Anonymous

              Why do you need to keep score? Why can’t we tackle the whole issue of sexism and not take sides on who has it worse?

              The “boys are dumb” thing needs to be dealt with specifically because it perpetuates the type of male behavior that leads to sexism against females.

              After all “boys will be boys” so it’s okay for them to act like asses towards women, right? Rigid masculine roles are a huge part of the problem, not to mention boys that don’t fit the mold face a lot of scorn from both genders.

              • Anonymous

                Well yes, but stereotypes about boys should be dealt with even if they don’t directly affect women (forgive me if you already know this, but the direction of your post made it difficult to tell). What I’m saying is that in today’s culture smart boys are mocked as geeky in a way that suggests they should change while other boys are mocked as dumb in a way that suggests they can’t change. And that’s true regardless of whether women are affected or not. Hopefully we can work to reduce gender stereotypes regardless of who is hurt.  

              • Anonymous

                Well yes, but stereotypes about boys should be dealt with even if they don’t directly affect women (forgive me if you already know this, but the direction of your post made it difficult to tell). What I’m saying is that in today’s culture smart boys are mocked as geeky in a way that suggests they should change while other boys are mocked as dumb in a way that suggests they can’t change. And that’s true regardless of whether women are affected or not. Hopefully we can work to reduce gender stereotypes regardless of who is hurt.  

          • altarego

            I would argue that there are many, many areas of society where girls and women still face sexism. I mean, we still have a wage gap, for FSM’s sake. So even though women are legally equal, we are not yet socially equal.

            Also, I was assuming no motives, only that the comments indicated that the boys are already learning that women are here to serve them, and that girls seem to feel resigned to that fact.

            As far as the “boys are so dumb” thing, I think that gets thrown around a lot, but it doesn’t really mean much. Back to the first paragraph, men still make more than women, regardless of education and whatnot.

            • Anonymous

              You are correct that income as adults is more important than grades in school (the second simply being a stepping stone to the first). And I agree that it is a problem that women still make less than men. But I think that much of the wage gap is connected to the fact that women are expected to be the ones that take off of work to raise small children, thus missing promotions. If more companies did a better job at offering time off for both genders to raise the kids, then I think that much of the wage gap would disappear. So yes, the wage gap is more important than the education gap, but sooner or later the education gap is going to affect the wage gap. Maybe they will cancel each other out. Maybe the wage gap will still exist one way or the other. In either case, maybe we can work to solve both at once.    

              I didn’t mean to accuse you personally of anything. I’m sorry if that is what it sounded like. I was talking about Atheist society in general. I understand that sexism, racism, homophobia ect are important issues, but I think that most of flamewars within Atheism could be avoided if instead of accusing others right away, we took a more positive approach of teaching them to be better. (I know the example in the original post isn’t from the Atheist community, but imagine that they are). Does Alan really expect women to bring him food simply based on her gender, or is he just asking her to as a favor and then returning the favor at another time (Or is he still in the phase where he views all adult women to be like his mom and will grow out of it as he gets older.)? Does Lynnette really think boys are intrinsically less interesting or is she just joking (or participating in the gender tribalism of young kids which she will grow out of)? We don’t necessarily know the answers to these questions from just these simple quotes.

              These are Christian kids, so people in this community don’t care, but I know that if someone in the Atheist community is accused of sexism or other bigotry, there is always a huge fight over every little detail because there are multiple ways to interpret each event and each gender takes it personally if they think someone of their gender is getting treated or viewed unfairly (which both genders inevitably do). I’m not just talking about the last month. I’ve seen it multiple times. Instead of accusing people, I think the Atheist community should just point out that certain activities are making parts of the community uncomfortable and to please help make things more welcoming. Then we could have hopefully more civil discussions and come out with a group policy that is fair to all genders/races/sexual orientations ect and every group gets a say rather than having the so-called oppression olympics to decide who should get all the attention.

               You were kind enough to consider the issues that affect either gender, even posting twice to make sure that you were understood to be sympathetic. I think others will do the same if we can get rid of the flamewars and the assumptions.

              • Alex

                Pam should’ve been called out, but Lynette sounded like she was joking, at that age before altrigenderism when the opposite sex has cooties.

                • Anonymous

                  It is true that Lynnette was probably exaggerating because of the petty gender squabbling that goes on during that age which she will grow out of. But my point is that if a boy of that age made a similar comment that was just as innocent, he’d probably face much more criticism. Yes, women have historically faced more sexism, but I don’t think we should be judging the meaning of a phrase simply based on the gender of the person who said it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/GooBallin Goo Ball

        Absolutely there are double standards in this community. It isn’t a perfect community, but some issues (like this one) really piss me off.

        First, equality should be discussed as equality. As soon as it focuses on one group, there’s an issue. Sweeping generalizations have no place in a discussion about equality.

        Second, too many unqualified people put their voice into the mix. This community is fairly good with leaving physics questions to the scientists, so why not sociology questions? Too many only look at a few statistics and their knee-jerk reaction is to cry out for change. But sociologists and psychologists are the ones who should be listened to on the matter. They’re trained to see past the statistics and look at the actual issues behind them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/David-Tiffany/100001926356049 David Tiffany

    Not new today, kids will always come to a point when they will have to make a decision as to whether or not they will follow God.  http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

    • Bryan

      Hey “David,” just because you’re posting under a different name doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the ridiculous, fact-free link you always post.  Go indoctrinate some more children.

      • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

        Sharp eyes, Bryan. Yes apparently “downtown dave,” aka “david,” aka “David Tiffany” has yet another new sock puppet, but for some reason, people see through his clever disguises.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kenneth-Dunlap/1418932885 Kenneth Dunlap

      What exactly does that load of crap have to do with anything meaningful or on topic?

  • Karen

    This list of kids’ answers is all over the internet, posted by all sorts of bloggers with no reference to where it actually came from.  Just google “keep the chips and dip coming”…

    • Karen

      It would be interesting to ask real kids these questions…and then ask them WHY they answer the way they do.  I usually find answers to “why do you think that” and “tell me more about what you are thinking” to be the most interesting  of all.  I teach 3-6 year olds and I love a good question!

  • OneLeggedPigeon

    Martin knows the game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/billyup Jesse Jones

    Once again I’m shown that having children shouldn’t be a right. It is a privilege to have children, our grandparents knew this.  Our grandparents would have to watch as a handful of their children died, and actually work to make sure some survived. My generation(born in the mid 80s) and the 2 or so before us, have no clue what it means to bring a life into the world. Parental testing and licensees should be required, kind of like the Chinese do it, in order to have children. Anyone without these would have two choices(adoption/abortion). Of course, religion would have to release the death grip it has on politics for this to ever happen though.

    The worst part about this article is the parents of these children, and anyone else who reads it without any form of logic in their tiny little heads, more then likely look at it and giggle. “Oh, they are so innocent,” they might say or “Isn’t that just the cutest thing in the world.”

    This whole thing makes me sick.

    • Anonymous

      In the old days people just kept having children because birth control was either unavailable, not allowed or unreliable. But there was no real effort to keep them alive. It was just accepted as part of life that some of them may die.

      Before the industrial revolution, having lots of children was even considered insurance for when the parents got older. They were a cheap labor force on the family farm and could take care of the parents later

    • Guest

      Darn that religion and its death grip on politics… if not for that, we’d be able to dictate to other people how they’re allowed to live their lives.

    • darksidecat

      I’m part native american.  Some of my family in the early half of this century were coercively sterilized by the government.  This happened to many black people in US as well.  Queer people have their children ripped from them, as do people with disabilities and poor people

      You know what makes me sick?  When I see policies advocated that de facto result in genocide and massive discrimination.

    • darksidecat

      I’m part native american.  Some of my family in the early half of this century were coercively sterilized by the government.  This happened to many black people in US as well.  Queer people have their children ripped from them, as do people with disabilities and poor people

      You know what makes me sick?  When I see policies advocated that de facto result in genocide and massive discrimination.

    • kaileyverse

      Dictating who can have children and when is completely fascist and totally against the type of freedom I want my country to espouse.  Who can have kids? Only married people? Only people making 60,000+ a year? Only whites? Only Christians? It isn’t my job to tell someone they can’t have kids because I don’t like the philosophies they teach their child.  

  • Michael

    A tour guide for an old Scottish industrial village told me that the younger someone on their tour was, the more likely they were to think it was justifiable that men were paid more than women back when the factory was running. As people reached adulthood they recognised the bigger picture and no longer thought that way.

    I think what we’re seeing in this is childish naiivete, not a start to anything. When I was young I thought I would spend my life hunting for aliens. That has not had any impact on how I grew up.

  • Ray

    I think I first saw this collection of  ‘cute’ quotes more than 30 years ago.

  • Kaydon

    I went to one of the CRC’s colleges (that is regularly written about in the Banner) and if I had a nickel for every woman going to school to get her MRS or who simply believed that her greatest calling was to get married and pump out babies I would have graduated without student loans and with enough money to buy a new Lexus. 

    I saw more sexism from both the students at the school and from the professors and administrators than I had seen in the evangelical culture I had grown up in (maybe because my parent’s were careful to give me options…). 

    As a woman there who wasn’t obsessed with snagging a husband and who publicly declared her dislike of children, I was something of an oddity and a breath of fresh air to all the poor guys in the engineering department who were being preyed on by the MRSers. 

  • MariaO

    Change the speakers to grown-up black people of various ages. That would be horrible, right? Everybody would rightly scream “rasism”. But when children are protrayed in this way, it suddenly becomes “cute”. Why the difference? Why the lack of respect for young humans just because they do not yet know as much as you do?

  • Bacopa

    Martin is one cool dude.

    We should also remember that these kids are at the tail end of what Freud called the “sexual latency” period. Huge self segregation of the sexes at this point, yet at the same time an incipient interest in relationship and even sexual issues. 

  • Paula M Marshall

    EVERY comment in here is horrible!!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X