My new thing that I say to kids when they have a random complaint or problem that they express in the form of a statement.
“Huh. Sad story.”
The point I’m trying to get across is that bitching isn’t going to get them anywhere. Y’all, if you need some damn help, ASK FOR IT. Don’t just tell someone that something’s wrong and expect them to dropeverythingnownownow to fix your mess.
Yes, you’re a delicate tulip whose very existence brightens my day and I probably should want to leap to your assistance at the change of a breeze (What? A mud puddle? Here, my child, let me drape my jean jacket over it to keep your Jordans from being soiled…) But, um, so are my other 125 students. And I’m not actually psychic (though, dude, it would be soooooooo useful if I were….oh, the crazy stories I could see through to the truth) so I need you to USE YOUR WORDS AND ASK ME FOR WHAT YOU NEED.
So now, when I say it, I get a variety of responses. Some laugh and say, “I know, right?” Some rephrase right away to a question. Sometimes they just look at me. And don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I want to help them, so if the phrase “sad story” gets a blank stare, I add, “What’re you going to do about it?” That cues them that I need some more before we’re going anywhere with this situation.
But they need to learn to ask for help instead of demanding it, and in the meantime, doing it this way keeps me entertained.