While other young kids were having Pat the Bunny read to them by their mothers, I was teaching my kids bad words. I felt it was important to learn them, but more essential, learn not to use them. The first two they learned were the “h-word” and “s-word.” But the words I am alluding to are not what most would consider bad or swear words.
Hate and stupid.
In my opinion there is no reason to use either word in describing a person, food, or activity. My children learned better choices exist to take the place of these two words at an early age. They understood mommy would correct them each time one was uttered, simply prodding them to re-phrase the sentence with something more appropriate.
Now that my children are older, it is a harder battle with these two somewhat benign words. I now sometimes hear from Princess Daisy, “Monkey (her brother) is stupid.” Or on occasion from Monkey, “I hate my sister.”
While I am losing the battle on the use of hate to describe broccoli and their sibling, we can now discuss the word on a different level. Discussions now revolve around people’s choice to hate based upon how someone looks, the color of their skin, their religion, gender, or who they choose to love.
After shooting a same-sex marriage in D.C. a few weeks ago, I was able to have another conversation about hate. I was proud of my children’s reaction to the discussion of hate based upon love. I even let it slide when one of them said hating for that reason was stupid.
While I have made mistakes parenting and don’t claim to be perfect, I am particularly proud that banning “hate” and “stupid” at an early age has led to my kids understanding fundamentally that hate does not belong in our heart for any reason. Growing up without developing hatred for others will lead to a happier life and they will both be better citizens of the world as a result.
As for the real bad words?
Monkey fell last week, scraping his skin in seven spots. Stinging, and covered with newly-applied band-aids he let me know the fall was so bad he said a bad word: the “c-word.”
It looks like I am still winning the battle on both fronts.
For now, at least.