I have four kids. As you can imagine I have a lot of “slip ups” when it comes to swear words. By 3pm, I’m pretty much a fuming bundle of nerves because I’ve been cleaning up after a 3-year-old all day long.
I always start with a smile on my face, though, and ask how my kids’ days went. I learned long ago to specify and ask, “What was the BEST part?” because otherwise all I’ll hear about is some little punk who said something to my little punk then un-invited her from the most punk-rock party of the pre-K season. By 3:03pm, as we’ve just pulled away from the school, someone’s peeled off their stinky Mary Jane and thrown it at their big sister, causing it to ricochet and bust me in the mother lovin’ forehead while I’m trying to maintain a cool 20mph in the school zone.
A bomb is inevitably dropped. I can’t push down on the pedal, so the rage has to escape from somewhere.
That’s when my kids know sh*t just got real… prior to that, mom’s been pretty cool. (Three whole minutes! A record!) However, nothing makes me more mad then when they force me to break one of my own D*MN rules.
It’s not that I care about these imaginary words mere mortals have deemed as “bad.” I don’t. Cuss words are just a cluster of consonants and sounds that really have no meaning to anyone besides us. If you don’t believe me, try swearing at a dog. Or a person in another country…as it turns out, your friend from Germany will be about as offended as your German shepherd.
No. The reason why I don’t want my kids to cuss is not because I believe the words contain some inherent vileness – I don’t want my kids to cuss because it sounds so unintelligent. Case in point: when I get hit in the head in the school zone, my brain stops working. It has now been taken over by white-hot fury. The only words I can come up with are the lowliest ones left behind in the bottom of my vocabulary’s barrel.
So when my 6-year-old daughter got up the ovaries to ask me if she could cuss when no one else was around, I made her a deal. Since the world would explode if I gave her such a special power without taking something in exchange, there would have to be some sort of trade off.
I told her to tell me all of the bad words she knew (and the fact that we were mid-tea party when this vernacular unleashing took place only made it that much more delightful). She gave me everything from sh*t all the way to the “c-word”…crap. Ironically, the one word she didn’t mention was “the bomb”.
And in exchange, I took: Hate. Stupid. Ugly. Dumb. Fat. Idiot. And Jerk.
In my house, those are the real “bad” words. Those are the ones I see shoot out of her mouth like a spear and pierce her brothers’ and sister’s core. Those are not the words that come when nothing else is left in her brain; those are the words that come when nothing else is left in her heart. When Christ said “it is not what goes in, but what comes out of your mouth that defiles you,” THIS is what he was talking about.
Now, of course, the deal was that she could only say these “bad words” around me when her other sibs weren’t home, and because they’re not a normal part of her vocab, they usually only come out in spurts when she’s trying to be funny. I roll my eyes and tell her she’s too intelligent to let such lowly words come out of her mouth. “They don’t deserve the honor of falling from the lips of a girl so witty, and articulate, and brilliant,” I say.
Then someone hits me in the head with a d*mn shoe and I remind her first hand just how unattractive full-on-flip-out-brain-boiling meltdowns truly are.