“Mummy, why is it called an Allen Key?” my son asked inquisitively.
“Let me Google it” I said rather curious myself.
“No Mummy, why isn’t it called something else, like an Ellen Key?”
Sweet Jesus no! I wasn’t ready to get into this with someone so young! I mean I didn’t have the deep and meaningful answers for that question either.
My son was helping his sister to build one of my many flat pack purchases from Kmart. As much as I love the speed of building things myself, I also love child labour- I’m kidding I promise!
Builds Them Up
What I actually love is the confidence it gives them, I love watching them work out instructions which baffle my mind yet they seem to understand quite well. I love their teamwork in getting the job done together and how unlike when they’re playing with toys with each other, this task of building something for the home doesn’t allow room for a disagreement to break out.
They’re forced to work productively and cooperate with one another because they rely on each other’s strengths. God knows I’m not going to intervene because when I set a building task it’s usually because I am absolutely DESPERATE to get something else done around the house (don’t panic, I’m still right there and as an added bonus they’re not left with anything too dangerous).
I Wasn’t Ready To Tackle It!
With all the current name changes underway I thought his question was perfectly timed. This didn’t however mean that I was anywhere near ready for it!
We’ve just had the name change of candy, cheese and even certain names of breakfast cereals have been brought into question. Currently, there are talks of particular ice creams having to change their names as well, so as to not cause offence. And you know what? It’s such a controversial topic that I avoid even stating the names in question so that I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
Should We Really Change The Allen Key’s Name?
Am I really going to have to remember to call yet another product by a different name? So instead of an Allen Key, what exactly would it be?
Slow down child, I do not know what the right answers are, but I am proud that you are questioning things. Proud, yet nervous because God knows that I don’t know what I’m going to do when the time comes that we can no longer refer to even things like white bread as ‘white’…
White Bread Is Cancelled
“Darling would you like that on white or brown bread?”
“Mummy stop being so prejudice!” is most certainly not a conversation I am ready to have but fear I will one day face with the names of so many different things changing – and especially if I’m already being asked why an Allen Key isn’t an Ellen Key.
No matter how careful and inclusive one tries to be there is always a chance for things to come across as insensitive or to cause offence to someone unintentionally. And time very much plays a factor too. Just because I used stretched out ‘Red Skins’ to decorate cupcakes last year doesn’t mean I can actually call them that this year in the same recipe.
I Can’t Believe You Called The Bread White!
Similarly to this, who knows if I will still be able to refer to bread as ‘white’, or not- or if someone reads this article years from now and rolls their eyes thinking ‘I can’t believe she called the bread that!’.
I need to teach my children to not only be kind, but to be fluid, flexible and I need to admire their curiosity without letting them know how very lost I am in all of this.
Maybe it’s just acceptance… learning to accept that some things that you may not even realise, could be hurtful to others and just being able to move forward with whatever term brings about the greatest harmony.
Luckily for me when I Googled ‘Allen Key’, the alternative they gave me was a ‘Hex Key’! Thank goodness I was able to give my little boy an alternative name for it. If only everything in life was this easy and unoffensive…
What do you think of this popular trend to change names to become less offensive? Do you think there will come a day, where we can’t call white bread, white anymore? Tell us in the comments below.