31 October 2008

Joe the Plumber

Two average Joes with all their plumbing gear.

I should subtitle this post, "The Woes of the Joes," because it was upon my strong suggestions that I convinced my two trusting sons to dress up as Joe the Plumber this year for Halloween. They really wanted to be boring things like Spiderman or a dinosaur or a soccer player.

But I got the idea in my head, and thought it would be the most clever costume of the year. And it may well be. The grown-ups all seemed to think it was clever. And last night when we went Trick or Treating, the boys learned real quick that if they told the candy-givers that they were "Joe the Plumber," they would get a good reaction. So they had fun.

But today at school was a different story. Kindergarteners and First-graders are not well-versed in the political conversation and climate that surrounds us this time of year. Not really. (I don't know why not. My 2-year old likes to say in her 2-year-old accent, "I'm Barak Obama; I poove dis message," but I digress.) When kids see one of their peers wearing holey jeans and a plaid shirt with a name-tag, carrying a plunger, all they really see is a kid with brown stuff on his face (the coffee-grind goatees) who doesn't look like anything out of the ordinary. So they got called "Dirty Joe" (because his face looked dirty), and "Hobo Joe," neither of which is something you want to be called by your peers.

The little plumber boys at school. The kindergarten teacher had to borrow the plunger because some naughty little kid clogged the sink with paper towels.

I was tempted to ask the little angel who kept teasing my plumber boy if she was dressed as a snowman, to give her a little taste of her own medicine, but I didn't. By the restraining of the Holy Spirit, I didn't. I really was tempted. But I didn't.

A sweet little princess who loves to say "twiko tweet"

I did tell my boys about a time when I was teased for what I wore at Halloween. (It was the only costume I can remember wearing, frankly.) My high school friend and I dressed as Sylvester and Tweety Bird. Only problem was, I was so tall, that I looked more like Big Bird! I didn't mind the teasing too much; I liked being tall back then, as I do now. I'm told my kids will most likely be tall too--since Daddy is 6'6", so the story fit well.

Even dressed as plumbers, they look a lot like a Latin teacher I know.

We fully expect our kids to be teased at school. We sometimes even joke about it, because we know we're such nerdy parents. But actually being there and watching it happen was not such a fun experience. However, it is a good learning opportunity for them to deal with those feelings and to encourage them to not be so concerned about what people think of us, and be more mindful of what God thinks. A lesson for myself as well!

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