Thursday, June 7, 2012

Using alcoholics to teach the kids math. Part 2

My post about teaching the kids mathemathics using the local alcoholics made some readers a bit sad and disappointed. 
The other day I found this post on another blog:
 From Annieellen, a girl with an alcoholic dad:

The first rows are in Swedish and says:
"Today I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Adora BatBrat and was confronted by a history I just NEEDS to ask you -what do you think about this..?"

Translation of the Swedish at the end:
"Okay, I might be odd. Perhaps a bit sensitive, when it comes to this subject. But I DON'T find this funny at all. But of course I know she doesn't mean any harm by it...BUT it is still NOT funny. The end."

I send her this message (translation at the end):

"Hej, Annieellen
Jag är uppriktigt ledsen om det jag skrev gjorde att Du kände Dig illa berörd, men jag menade verkligen inget illa i det jag skrev.
Jag skrev inget illa om alkoholister, utan emfas låg i att nyttja matematik i vardagen. Hade det varit tanter, eller hip-hoppare som suttit där hade jag använt dem istället.

Jag talade ofta med alkoholisterna i min stad när jag jobbade som trädgårdsmästare, och känner väl till de olika bakgrunder - vilket även är något mina barn känner till. Få barn kan nog förklara varför en person är alkoholiserad som mina.
Respekt och humor KAN gå hand i hand :)


 "Hi, Annieellen
I'm truely sorry if what I wrote made you feel concerned, but I did not have any intentions to make people feel bad about what I wrote.
I didn't write anything mean about alcoholics, but emphasis was on how to use mathematics in your dayly life. If there had been old ladies or hip-hoppers sitting there I would have used them instead.

I often talked to the alcoholics when I worked as a garden architect, and know their different storys well - something my kids also knows. Not many kids today can explain why a person is an alcoholic as narrating as mine can.
Respect and humor CAN go hand in hand :)


I'd like to point out that I wrote NOTHING mean about alcoholics in my first post, or said anything mean while I spoke to my kids. I just asked them if they could count the alcoholics sitting on benches. 
And they could!

I didn't laugh AT the alcoholics, but I admit I laughed at the kids cuteness as I told my husband about it later.
You have to admit hearing a child say "-It's one alcoholic on one bench..." and so on, is "cute-funny". Even if they had said "-It's one hip-hopper on one bench...." it still sounds funny!

For those who's not familiar with the term alcoholic, and think an alcoholic and someone who drinks at a few parties every year is the same thing, here is a link explaining the whole thing. 
I'm not saying you are stupid because you are not familiar with the term.
And perhaps people in other contries aren't familiar with how it is in Sweden (didn't think of that), but here every town's got their own local alcoholics hanging out in public places; like the park at the playground, outside the supermarket and on sunny benches in the town center. They also often talks to by-passers, as kids.

So, you see, kids in Sweden are TOO familiar with alcoholics as a regular part of their daily life and therefor you need to explain to them what an alcoholic is when they ask why those men (often) smells like pee, walks strange and talks spluttering. Sad, but true.
Most local alcoholics are quite calm and do no harm, but many are intrusive and scare the kids with their way.
Alcoholism is classified as a disease, but to kids they are just scary and smells.


  1. Jag antar att detta är det närmaste en ursäkt vi som tagit illa vid oss av inlägget kommer att få.

  2. Jag förstår inte vad det är du tar illa upp vid? Tror du att Adora försöker lära sina barn att alkoholism är en livsstil de ska sträva emot eller någonting?
    Vi kan inte gömma sjukdomar från barn, de behöver veta lika mycket varför en alkoholist beter sig som den gör som varför någon har kryckor eller rullstol.
    Ska vi ta en omväg för att slippa behöva förklara för våra barn varför någon går konstigt? Får man inte ha roligt om man är sjuk? Har vi ingen rätt att titta på alkoholister? Jag tror att om du frågade dem skulle de inte ha något emot alls att bli räknade.
    Din reaktion tyder mer på att du själv har ett problem med alkoholister, eller andra med fysiskt yttrade sjukdomar med för den delen. Är du kanske rädd för att det ska komma ut att du egentligen ogillar dem, ser dem som mindrevärdiga? Ja, det är tragiskt när en socialt accepterad drog skapar så socialt oaccepterade sjukdomar, men dessa alkoholister kommer inte sluta vara alkoholister bara för att du inte kan skämta om dem, det enda som händer är att de blir mer utfösta ur samhället. Att vara neutralt inställd till en människa gör inte att dina barn kommer att vilja vara den människan.
    Hade Adora smutskastat alkoholisterna hade jag förstått din reaktion, det hade givit hennes barn en skev uppfattning om människors värde. Men detta var bara en observation, inget mer.
    Hon har inget att be om ursäkt för. Hon sa ingenting till dig (om du inte är en av hennes barn, det är ju svårt att veta eftersom du är anonym). Skulle hon be någon om ursäkt skulle det vara hennes barn. "Förlåt för att ni fick räkna alkoholister, nästa gång ska ni få räkna gamla tanter". Av någon anledning tror jag inte att de tog illa upp.

  3. Whel, I don't find it offencive at all. It's people problem if they do... Really. Some are just oversensetive... We3 have a group like that in out town to :D Always gets out when the sun is shining :)

  4. I don't see anything wrong with it. I would have found it adorable too, but I think, for the same reasons you stated, I can see why some people may have gotten a little upset.

  5. I'm actually pretty happy that you took the time to answer your reader's concern there, I don't personally fine it offensive, but I don't think she was being over sensitive either.
    We can't choose what other people are offended by, and what people find offensive is often down to their personal situations that we can have no idea of.
    Like I say I'm glad you took the time to make this post though, a lot of other bloggers would have just ignored it or been all butthurt about it.

  6. Vars och vem är dina barns far?

  7. Adora you are a lovely person. I am touched by reading that you do not give a F*** in serious cases, and answer that girl.

    Greetings :) *hug*

  8. I also like the fact that you answered to those concerns. However, I would like to suggest to blur the faces of the people on the bench... I'm not sure if they would appreciate it to be put on display for the whole internet. And even if they don't care anymore, they still might be someone's son/father/uncle/whatever... Just my two cents.

    1. Oh, those are not "my" local alcoholics, just a random alcoholics picture from the web..
      "No alcoholics were hurt during the shoot."

  9. They look exactly like those that we have in Finland (but I guess we share a lot of similarities because of the history and the closeness of our countries). I live in Helsinki and there are drunks everywhere but they don't pay attention to you if you don't even look at them.

    My dad is an alcoholic too (but not like those drunks on benches, he has a job and he does other things as well) but I didn't feel insulted because of your post. Drunks are sad part of our community but humour is a way of handling these things. And as we all can see, your post has made people talk so it can't be bad :)

    But I agree with the previous anonymous, someone might recognize those people though drunks often sort of "lose their characteristics" and start to look all the same...

  10. Humor and teaching goes well together. But sometimes people find it offensive, and start complaining about "That's wrong!" blah blah blah. Yeah, that's their opinion; everyone has different views. Adora, keep doing your own thing. Just because people are disappointed doesn't mean stopping your "unusual" teaching activity.

  11. Frida som undrar vems barnens pappa är borde kanske läsa bloggen. det står ju om honom på rätt många ställen. och dom har ju varit tillsammans sen tidernas begynnelse. från när vi va unga och vackra på 80 talet. idag är vi vackrare men aningen äldre ;)

    Thina. som till och minns när dom träffades

  12. I didn't even pay any concern on your first post because parents do that kind of thing all the time: Learn by Environment = best results achieved. Now really, my mom used to ask similar things. Like when we were travelling she might ask at the airport "how many jewish people there are?" (you know the men that have the hats and curl and beards) or she might have asked "how many airplanes?" or "how many flight attendants?" or "how many chinese, mexican, afro-americans or whatever else". It doesn't offend anyone. So I do understand your point here. Kids pay no attention to what it is really, they just figure out how many certain kind of people there are at the moment without becoming racists or something else. And if it's alcoholics it's alcoholics, so what it's only learning by enviroment. My biological parents were both alcoholics and druggies and that post did not offend me at all :) Keep the good job up Adora! :)

  13. You don't have to defend anything Adora. You are teaching your kids that not everything in the world is perfect and to deal with it with humor.