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Woman makes son volunteer at the zoo after he makes classist remarks about zookeepers.

Woman makes son volunteer at the zoo after he makes classist remarks about zookeepers.


Respect shouldn't be contingent on what you do for work. This is important for adults to know and also for kids to learn. You shouldn't tell a kid that if they don't work hard, they'll end up pumping gas for a living because that teaches them that people pumping gas don't deserve respect.

On a popular Reddit thread in the Am I the A**hole Subreddit, a woman tries to teach her son about respecting people who do manual labor, but her ex-husband says she's being a jerk.

She writes:

I'm divorced but have primary custody of my three kids, 16, 12, and 8. Last week I took them all to the zoo, and it was mostly a good experience. The two younger kids especially liked it, but my oldest isn't fond of animals.

We passed a zookeeper working hard cleaning a giraffe exhibit, and to my surprise, my 16-year-old son pointed and said to his brother, 'That's why you do good in school, I guess, or you end up scooping poop for a job!' He said it loud; the keeper and nearby guests indeed heard. I was very embarrassed.

I quickly led them away and left the zoo soon after and asked him where he learned to talk like that. I said, 'That's not even true. Many of them have master's degrees and higher!' But he said he thinks it's gross menial work for people who don't want to work with their intellect, and 'anyone could do it.' (referencing enclosure cleaning, I assume).

I was pretty appalled by how he's learned to look down on manual labor, particularly zookeeping, because, as I understand, it's not even 'easy' - sure, it's manual labor. Still, I can't do what those zookeepers do daily; I gag from our cat's litter box alone!

I thought the best way to teach him more respect and appreciation was to sign him up to volunteer at the zoo, so that's what I did. I found a 'zookeeper for a week' program at a zoo not far from here and enrolled him.

When I told him, he was distraught and said, 'why would you do that? That sounds awful.' I told him I thought he'd said it was 'easy,' so surely just one week wouldn't hurt, but he said, 'yeah, cleaning up messes is 'easy' in that anyone can do it, but that doesn't mean I want to!'

His father thinks this was too harsh when he found out (I'm guessing some of his sentiments may influence these attitudes), but I decided to stick with it. AITA?

fruitcakeslaps says:

NTA. Making him do the work will make him realize how hard many jobs are and how much effort people put into what they do. The jobs we might see as undesirable are the ones that keep a lot of systems running. To make that comment loudly in front of the zookeeper is just harsh.

grimbet says:

My daughter's middle school class took a zoo field trip once (one of those overnight trips), and I was a parent chaperon. In the morning, one of the keepers led us around and stopped outside the lion night house. She pulled out a $10 bill and said half-jokingly, 'Okay, I'll give $10 to anyone who can come here with me and help me clean.'

So two of the kids and I walked up with her, opened the door to the inside, and OMG. We all turned around, retching and coughing for fresh air. I didn't know it was possible for anything to smell that bad.

The zookeeper laughed like it was nothing and said, 'Just kidding, I wouldn't do that to you. Guess I have to clean this alone. enjoy the rest of your day!' I don't think 99.9% of people could do that job, like at all. The furthest thing from 'easy.' NTA.

DiamondHeist1970 says:

The jobs we might see as undesirable are the ones that keep a lot of systems running.

ReasonableCookie9369 says:

NTA gotta nip that attitude in the bud early.

That's just good parenting, OP. Without this experience your son would become one of those people that defends everything Elon Musk does.

Sources: Reddit
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