You know when someone starts a sentence like that, you are going to immediately take offense. It’s a given. I’m pretty sure there’s even some physical, defensive response in most people upon hearing that phrase uttered.
The Boy’s class is having a “garage sale” tomorrow to simulate buying and selling products, and I suppose it’s a lesson in social studies. Of course, with our busy, busy lives over the past couple of weeks, I put off the preparations for this garage sale until this evening. The idea is that students will find things at home that they do not have a use for anymore, and put those in their desktop sale. Most kids with autism that I know would (and do) have a real problem with giving up their stuff, so we had a bit of an issue.
I wasn’t sure how many of these “items” we needed, so I contacted a friend who’s daughter went through the same school a few years ago, and asked her if she knew. She contacted another parent of a 5th grader and reported back to me. She said this other parent suggested 10-20 items, and that if the kids didn’t want to give anything up, they could do a craft. My friend asked her if The Boy might draw something (because she knows how much he loves to draw). This mom responded, “No offense, but it should be something the kids actually want.”
Now, this is secondhand information, and like texts and email, a lot of nuance can be lost. I’m sure this mom really meant no harm, and she was actually being helpful by passing along information about this event. But like one of my other favorite phrases (“Don’t worry about it!”), it ends up being immediately offensive, and just by adding “No offense” to the beginning doesn’t give you a pass. Just because you don’t mean to offend someone doesn’t mean that you won’t end up actually doing it. It’s a pretty useless prefix.
I know that maybe other 5th graders may not appreciate The Boy’s artwork as much as I do, but there are some really great kids in his class who would probably purchase a few of his items. In fact some of his “longer works”, which are often pages of comic books that are running through his head, are pretty cool and entertaining.
I’m not upset. I know that my kid rocks, and I don’t need anyone else’s approval. But I think the phrase, “No offense…” needs to be put to rest.