an unexpected teacher

George Carlin is an educator.

Yes, that George Carlin.

When my dad came down to visit in the winter, he would set up his windows laptop at the kitchen table. We had Apple computers but the boys liked trying out this different operating system. One year, he came down with an updated Google Earth app. This version had YouTube video links. The videos were pretty safe and silly and the boys loved watching them over and over. Soon, the boys learned to browse YouTube on their own computers. At least YouTube defaults to safe search if you don't have an account.

They found Thomas The Tank Engine videos people had uploaded. We had most of the video tapes but they could watch what they wanted and repeat it over and over. George Carlin narrated many of the Thomas videos. YouTube suggested other George Carlin videos which were not quite as kid friendly. An aside, I do not know why someone would make a video of George Carlin reading his audio book. But people did and my boys loved to listen to them. My boys have great aural memories and could soon repeat many of Carlin's bits. 

Ryan found my copy of When Will Jesus Bring the Porkchops? on my bookshelf and started reading it. I am not sure how much he understood but I let him read it. Ryan has read most of the Carlin books several times. Andy prefers listening to the audio.

When the boys started repeating some of Carlin's thoughts on religion, I knew we had a problem. My dad is very Catholic. Carlin was not. I told the boys that they could read or listen to the bits but not to repeat them in front of Poppa. Surprisingly, they understood and we didn't have any problems.

The boys learned about curse words. Carlin used the f word a lot. Andy was repeating a bit that included this word. He knew he shouldn't say the word but didn't know what to say instead. In this case, I instructed him to say what the heck. It worked and I didn't hear the f word from either boy. One time Andy was repeating another bit and substituting hecking instead of the f-ing word Carlin used. Oh, heck is not as versatile as the f-word and we need another lesson in appropriate words. 

Another time, Andy walked in repeating another Carlin bit which is in the form of a cheer. I told Andy he is not to repeat that and Ryan asked why. I explained that there are many words which are not appropriate in their usage. Ryan asked, “Like pussy and snatch box?” Once I picked up my jaw from the floor, I tried to explain what these words meant. “I know what they mean!” Sure pussy can meant cat and snatch means to grab and box is something you ship or store something in. But they can have other meanings and I tried to explain. But Ryan didn't want to listen. Like any other 13 year old boy, he did not want to talk about sex with his mother. But I prefer to teach him the meanings of these words at home rather than he say them at school and be embarrassed or in trouble.

The boys do not socialize like regular kids. They prefer to stay at home. So they pick up bad habits and incorrect facts from YouTube. I have had to explain gay and homosexual. Though I was uncomfortable, I explain without opinion and prejudice and Ryan was OK with it.

You never know where kids are going to learn. There are worse people than George Carlin.