A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the ER and needs surgery. The doctor comes in and says “I can’t operate on this boy, he is my son.” How is this possible?
I asked my daughter this riddle and she said well if the father is dead, it must be an uncle, and after a few minutes in thought, she came up with that the father may have come back to life. After explaining that the father is dead and the doctor is the parent of the boy, she thought on it some more. She said it could be a woman, perhaps the doctor is the mother, if not, than the only other option is the doctor is a zombie. Her whole thought process to the answer the riddle took about two minutes.
Each generation that is asked the riddle gives a different answer. Years ago, there was no possibility for a woman to be a doctor, so the riddle was impossible to answer. Although, in recent years, it could be the boy’s other father. This riddle was created to bring up the issue of gender bias. If you look at the pronouns that are used, they are all male. If instead I said, “kid” in the place of “son”, than that may open up a child’s brain to the possibility that the answer is a woman. However, if a child answers that the doctor is the boys other father, than that child is enlightened indeed.
I was proud that my daughter came about to the possibility of the doctor being a woman, but she could become a little more enlightened in reality, as zombie is just not an answer most people want. Lets hope there is never a possibility for that!
If your interested in further understanding the importance of the pronouns used here is an article I came across when I was actually looking for this riddle originally. I thought it brought up some good points, like why does the child have to be a boy, why not a girl. https://www.bu.edu/today/2014/bu-research-riddle-reveals-the-depth-of-gender-bias/
Well enjoy readers. And let me know what your children answered and which pronouns you chose to use when asking the riddle.