"That looks stupid!" proclaims The Hubster. "Why would you make it look like that?"
Manlet's face fell. He had spent many hours on his science project and the tri-fold display board looked exceptionally good to me. I turned in fury to my insensitive mate while telling my dear, hardworking son in the calmest voice I could muster that I really liked his display board.
"Can I speak to you in the other room?" I said through clenched teeth, barely able to control my rage. Momma Bears are just that way.
Once in our bedroom with the door firmly shut, I asked Steve why he would say such a hurtful thing.
"But I am just being honest!" replied my hubby. "Why would he put all those colored paper letters on there? That's goofy! He should just have used a black sharpie. Printing should be in black ink!"
"Sweetheart, you have helped judge projects at the high school's science fair for years now!.You have seen how colorful and exciting the kids try to make their displays!" I responded, perplexed now. "Don't you remember?"
"Of course I remember!" said my mate. "I've always graded those types of displays down! It detracts from the project information."
I stared at Steve dumbfounded.
"You marked down projects that were artistically displayed?" I was incredulous.
"Why do you always put me down?" demanded The Hubster. "I will never, ever, ever help at school again as long as I live!" He turned and stomped out of the room.
I quickly went back to Manlet's desk where he seemed intent on dismantling his display to start over. I stopped him in order to take photos which I then sent to a couple of teacher-friends of mine. Their opinions of the display were positive and complimentary.
After I convinced my son to submit his project as it was, I went to look for Steve. He, of course, was in his shop slamming things around.
"Sweetie, we've had this talk before. Being honest needs to be tempered with compassion and consideration. I never ask you what you think of my scrapbooking projects because you don't see any purpose in the art of the book. I don't ask your opinion of my outfits because you have no fashion sense. You need to be kind to Manlet. He is very sensitive about his creative endeavors. You literally see things in black and white where he sees technicolor. You need to be supportive."
I waited a few minutes. I could see that Steve was ruminating on my words. When there was no response I returned to the house. Perhaps in a day or two he would talk to me about it.
We have a lot of 'or nots' lately, lol.