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The “F” Word

My daughter, Bis, just turned 6 years old on Friday.  Then promptly got off the bus on Monday informing me that Noah said the “F” word.  Then she said it as sweet as if it were the word “princess” or “butterfly.”

I remember my first swear.  I remember what it was.  I remember where I was when I said it, and I remember what happened to me.  I also remember not having a clue what it meant.  I think I remember it because of the quick and drastic response that came to me from my mother (thanks to my sister’s quick tattling.)  I was so confused why I would be punished for something I didn’t understand.

There was some 5 year old understanding of justice that still holds true and, thankfully, came through in my response to Bis and her sweet pronunciation of the dreaded “F” word.  I don’t think I helped her understand anything.  She wanted to know why she couldn’t say it.  She wanted to know what it meant.  She wanted answers, and I’m not about to give them to her.

I wonder if Adam was just as confused about the fruit on the tree in the middle of the garden.  I wonder if he asked his Daddy, “But why?” or “I’m not getting this…what will it do?”  He was so innocent and couldn’t fathom its consequence or its meaning.

Now, in thinking about it, I am curious as to whether or not my mom had it right: drastic, soapy response to a first infraction.  Sounds a bit like what God has done.  I’m going with a gentle first chance and an understanding of ignorance.  Hope I haven’t blown it.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Deyanne Koster
    December 6, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Can’t wait to see Joanie’s response –
    My situation as a mom was – now that I have smeared soap in and out of the mouth of my child do I rinse?????

  2. Joanie
    December 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    My guess is (and no, I don’t remember the dreaded time) that you weren’t just telling me about someoneelse saying that word…but were using it. And, young man, I’d do the very same thing today if I heard you swear! Love ya!

  3. Kari Broadway
    December 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    There’s a great Berenstein Bears episode that addresses this. I’ll see if I can find the name. We showed it at Trinity in kids programming this fall.

  4. December 6, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Knowing you as I do, good friend, Jim, I don’t think the soapy response worked anyway.

  5. Liz Moss
    December 7, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Very true, Eric. I don’t think it worked. James, your post made me laugh. My oldest child likes to run around the house saying, “What the heck?” for, well, just the heck of it.

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