Ugly vs Ugly

We watched Chicken Little this past weekend. It’s a fun movie with lots of crazy characters and memorable lines. Among the zaniness is The Ugly Duckling.

“I didn’t like the Ugly Duckling,” my six-year old announced this morning.

“Why not?”

“Cause she’s ugly!”

Hmm… Lesson time. “Yeah, but she was nice. What matters is what a person does, not what they look like, right?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

For the rest of the morning, he kept announcing times when the Ugly Duckling was particularly ugly, saying things like ”When she scared the teacher? That was ugly!”

In the car, I finally decided to try to take the lesson to the next level. “Hey guy,” I said. “When you say someone is ‘being ugly’ it means they’re being mean. It doesn’t mean they don’t look good.”

“Yeah, but when she said ‘let’s get out of here’ – she was being ugly!”

“Well, yes she was ugly, but she was actually being nice.”

“Okay,” he said, sounding frustrated. I looked over my shoulder at him, and he quieted. He’s not allowed to shout at me, and we’ve been working hard on making sure he watches his tone. He quieted down. When I turned back to watch the road, however, I heard him mumble. “I didn’t say she was a bitch.” he said.

“Excuse me?” I said, looking back at him again. I’d never heard him – or his friends for that matter – say “bitch” before.

“Um, oh, uh,” he said. “I said she was being nice, but she was looking ugly. That’s what I was saying.”

I turned back to my driving, thinking.

I might have been the one giving the lesson, but I think I learned a lot more than I taught.

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