It started innocently enough with my daughter repeating something that I say all the time (or at least, I used to say all the time). "Oh, my gosh!" I heard Madeleine say when she was about 5. Coming out of the mouth of a 5 year old it just seemed so close to taking the Lord's name in vain, "Oh, my God." I thought when I said it it was so different, but really, "Oh, my gosh" are not the best English words ever. So, I have tried (really, really) to stop saying, "Oh, my gosh."
Then, Madeleine went to kindergarten where her classmates were teaching her all kinds of words and phrases. We had the discussion about the word hell. I told her it wasn't a bad word, it just wasn't a very nice word. We had talks when Madeleine would use words that weren't very nice or just not very becoming for a young child to be saying.
A few months ago Madeleine said, "What the...?" which Lee says all the time. Lee does not say another word after "what the" and Madeleine copied him exactly. It made me laugh so much. Children pick up on everything that you say and then, they repeat it!
Yesterday Madeleine said "heck". I don't know why it made me stop and think, it just seemed like a word that an older person should be saying, not a 6 year old. I say it, Lee says it, but should we tell her not to say it? (I did tell her it wasn't a very nice word to say).
What words are bad and what words are inappropriate for our children to say? And if they are inappropriate for our children to say, why are they okay for us to say them? There are those words that George Carlin talked about, and those words that you know are bad words, but what about those words that are somewhere in the middle? They are just not nice, or don't sound like a child should say them. But they hear the adults around them saying them...
A memorable wedding that I did in Krum was when a man asked me to speak on the passage in James that talks about how our mouth gets us into trouble. I was expecting the love passage in 1 Corinthians, but this man knew what he needed help on for his marriage!
From James 3 (The Message version)
"We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you'd have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell."