But it’s the One-Eighth-Pints you really need to keep an eye on. They adore learning new things, and even more adore displaying what they’ve learned. I still have scars from the day I taught some young campers what “hypocrite” means. They heard me mention it in passing as something not to be, and so eager were they for moral instruction that they insisted on learning what it meant. Then the enthusiastic young scholars, bent on expanding their vocabulary, had me review its pronunciation with them. Following which they used it. Liberally. Mostly to refer to me (“Oh Bad4? You mean the hypocrite counselor?”) or to hail me (“Hey Hypocrite! Come look at us play!”).One particularly exuberant afternoon they came dancing down the walk singing “Hy-po-crite, hy-po-crite.” Somehow, I got full tips anyway. (Is it just me, or do other people wind up in these situations too?)
Anyway, that’s how I learned to be careful about what I say in front of Eighth-Pints. Parents of Eighth-Pints are advised to check behind doors before whispering to each other about sensitive information. You may be prepared for the kid to whisper to a friend that her sister is dating, but don’t forget—these kids have imaginations, and not all can differentiate between real facts and the ones they conclude with after a long chain of daydreaming. Or better yet, nightdreaming. Parents who forget this are bound for a rude awakening, hypocrite style.
A friend’s parents didn’t check behind the door the night their oldest daughter officially hit the market. They were understandably excited, and probably chattered about it for a good part of the night. Fancy that – someone might want to marry their daughter! The very same one who’d made charcoal instead of steamed broccoli last week, but they wouldn’t tell him that until afterwards, and yes, the same daughter who still slept with a teddy bear and nightlight, but there would be no reason to mention that…
Well, Mrs. Parent went to pick up Eighth-Pint from school the next day and met Mrs. Teacher, wreathed in joyful smiles. “I hadn’t heard, but that’s so nice, mazal tov!” said Mrs. Teacher.
“Thank you,” said Mrs. Parent automatically, and then added, “Um, what for?”
“On Full-Pint’s engagement! Eighth Pint told us all today after davening. Who’s the lucky man?”
Faster than a speeding bullet or an erroneous OnlySimchas posting is the misinformation of an excited Eighth-Pint. Parents and Full-Pints beware.