Strangest phrase to send your child to school with…

It’s a bit off-topic, but I thought I’d share… the strangest phrase to send your child off to school with:

This morning, I was having a conversation with my daughter (DJ Mo, remember?) while waiting for her school bus to arrive. She was describing a basic science experiment her class was performing– putting a plant in food-colored water to see how it travels up the stem. I mentioned to her how this process of experimentation was at the heart of science, and how that differed from religious “thinking,” which simply poses ideas and accepts them on faith.

The conversation progressed into a riff on science, with a lot of “what-ifs” being thrown around. My daughter told me that one idea she thought was especially interesting was to use a “machine” of some sort to put kids in, that could read their DNA and tell you what they’d be like when they grew up. I explained that while no such machine existed, that there are a number of things that could be examined to determine some of a child’s future, such as their eating habits and parent’s health.

Now, I’m pretty sure she was more interested in whether or not her brother’s hair was going to change from his rather unlikely blond to fit the rest of the family than the more questionable uses such a machine might pose, but I decided to talk with her a little about this anyhow.

I explained that some people had previously used the concepts of genetics to push for laws that would only allow “perfect” people to be bred, and to disallow others from having children. I explained that while genetics research could yield many interesting and useful results, that it was sometimes hard for some to draw an ethical line at where to stop– thus leading to the idea of eugenics. I cautioned her with the old sci-fi saw that in a world of eugenics, there might not be room for imperfect folks like us.

It’s heady stuff for 7:00 in the morning, and she was naturally a little upset to see some of the possible ramifications of her machine. As the bus pulled up, the driver opened the door. I called out after her, forgetting I was in full earshot of the driver:

“Have a great day at school, Mo! Don’t worry about eugenics!”

9 Responses to “Strangest phrase to send your child to school with…”

  1. Karen Says:

    I love it! Reminds me of the sorts of ideas my Papa and I would toss around.

    Keep up the good work, Dad =)

  2. Tony, Atlanta GA Says:

    Absolutely great!

    My son (now turning 12) is getting very easy to embarrass – so our sciency conversations mostly happen when he gets ‘tucked in at night’ – aka 30 minutes of rapping on whatever topics come to mind at the end of the day. So no opportunities for being overheard (except by Mom!)

  3. Bren Says:

    This was a great story. Gave me a hearty laugh!

    This has nothing to do with science, but I was reminded of a story my aunt likes to tell about a phrase that has probably only been said once in all of eternity. When she was a child the family cat gave birth on her brother’s (my uncle’s) bed. My aunt, who had been counting some change, walked into his room to see the spectacle. Since she was a young kid and this was the early 1950’s, every penny mattered. As she was looking at the new kittens and the big mess, the change fell out of her hand. She and my uncle gathered it up, but one penny was missing. She implored him to help her look for it, and finally he spotted it.

    “Oh, it’s right here”, he said, pointing to a spot on the bed.

    “Where? I don’t see it”, she replied.

    He pointed again.

    “The penny’s in the placenta.”

    Now that’s a phrase you don’t hear every day!

  4. startlingmoniker Says:

    Don’t sell it short. I could easily see that becoming a catchphrase should we ever have a verbal dry spell. Waste not, want not!

  5. Budbear Says:

    I have a feeling that the school bus driver probably has no idea what the word eugenics means. If anything, he/she might have thought you said “The Eurythmics” and was humming “Sweet Dreams” for the rest of the day.

  6. coachingparents Says:

    Wonderful….I applaud your honest answer at such a tender age. It not only taught her logic and feeling for people around her, but the possible ramifications of an action or idea. An idea is a powerful thing, but a good parent is even more powerful!


  7. owen59 Says:

    Odd you think that religion simply poses ideas and accepts them on faith, but maybe you’ve had a different experience than myself.
    Anyhow, I am married to a middle eatern women, and I’m from an angloceltic origin, an one evening some years ago tried to explain genetics to my sons who are of a browner skinned ilk, along the lines of, ‘well, imagine you married a black african whose great grandfather was a white dutchman, then it is quite possible that some of your children will be black skinned and some white. They thought this was too weird to contemplate. Although I must admit in my experience with humans, the mixed marriages cause a softening of the racial qualities, often with a more beautiful and robust outcome.

  8. Bob Says:

    How beautiful – that we should all start our days with strange phrases and questions about our visions of the future!

  9. Tagged again… « Startling Moniker Says:

    […] Link 1 is a little bit of FAMILY: The Strangest Thing to Say […]

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