It is to no surprise to anyone that children are like sponges. They absorb everything. Each day they watch us mindfully and reenact our words and actions. Unfortunately, some of those things aren’t always the most pleasant or socially acceptable.
To anyone that knows me, they know that I may or may not have the mouth of a sailor.
Okay, I do. I really do.
Do I have the ability to act like a good, honest, god-fearing debutante with a high intellect?
But of course, good sirs and ladies.
But can I also swear up and down the walls with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye?
You’re damn right.
For the record, it isn’t all my fault. And I’m a bit of a product of my nature. I come from a family of swearers. When we get mad, we swear. When we get excited, we swear. When we are trying to establish a strong opinion or point…well you get the picture.
Often growing up it was mentioned that swearing was a sign of a limited vocabulary, but as many of my school exams and several scientific studies on the issue have now shown, swearing is actually the opposite and is often the sign of high intelligence. This has been such a topic of taboo that it seems like a quick Google search reveals a new article each day on the subject.
With everything from higher intelligence to freedom of speech to lack of vocabulary or horrific manners discussed simply with the action of swearing, it seems that there is a proverbial border wall between the sides.
When kids swearing are brought into the mix, then the battle really begins.
But with swear words in almost every form of media and all over the place, even with the most un-potty-mouthed parents, children are bound to pick up a word or two, or maybe five.
And often they come in the most inappropriate times, like in public, in a crowded store, and a person bumps into you, and your toddler asks…
“Is that guy a jackass, Momma?”
Why yes, sweetie, he is…and now the woman next to us might just drop dead of a heart attack at my poor parenting choices.
Or are they poor choices?
Today I speak for those of us moms who let out the occasional manure-based slang or F-Bomb and say that, yes, my kids can swear like sailors — and here are ten other life lessons I’m currently working to teach them.
1. Always fight for the underdog.
See a kiddo getting bullied, stand up for them. See someone being harassed, stand up for them. Make the world see that picking on someone because they are smaller or less than you is never acceptable, and together we can stop it, but we have to stand up for one another. We especially have to stand up for those without the voices to stand up for themselves.
2. Your opinion of a person should never be based on outside appearances or preconceived notions.
Race, ethnic background, gender, religion, sexuality, or social status typically mean nothing when it comes to forming opinions of people. Your opinions should be based on their character, the content of their heart, and how they treat others. Practice the “Mile in Their Shoes” and “30 Minutes in Their Head” principles when learning about others. Take the time to learn their story if you safely can, and you might just be surprised what you learn about them — and more importantly, yourself.
3. There are multiple sides to the same story.
Understand that the world runs on perspectives. Know that what you’ve heard may not always be the entire truth. Realize that we have to be willing to hear all sides in order to truly understand a story. Fact check and research. Never be afraid to dig deeper into a story before you make a decision.
4. Context is key, and words can hold a heavy weight.
Never use a word to hurt someone. Name-calling or insulting is never okay. Yes, we all slip up and sometimes say really nasty words that come from really ugly emotions, but try to never let those words move through your lips. If they do, always remember that a true apology must come following it through your mouth, straight from your heart. Words have so much power that they come with an incredible amount of responsibility and care.
5. You are loved beyond reason, and you are worthy of love.
You are loved. More than anything in this world. You are our reason for purpose. You will always be loved like this. No mistake could make us stop loving you. Fail a test? Still loved. Wreck the car? Still loved. Break my heart? STILL LOVED. Just like you always will be loved, you are also worthy of our love. You are worthy of love and affection. You deserve nothing less than to surround yourself with people that love you. You are worthy of feeling loved and wanted, and I wish nothing less for you.
6. Don’t take that love for granted.
At any given moment you can always take things for granted. You can be unappreciative, or forget what is truly important. This is especially true for love. Sometimes you can get complacent and forget that true, real love takes work. Though there is unconditional love, it is important to always remember that we should always, always, always, appreciate that love. Remember that it could be taken away in an instant.
7. You can always come home.
This is your home. And I don’t just mean our physical home. Our family, our unit, that is your home. And you can always return. Need a cup of coffee and a chat with Mom or Dad? Come home. Feeling lost? Come home. Don’t need someone to fix you, but you really just need someone? Come home.
8. Be humble.
We all make mistakes. I have made some doozies. To err is to be human. Do not be afraid to admit when you are wrong or when you have messed up. Our unit runs on the beauty of grace. Remember that every time you royally screw up. Don’t be too prideful to admit what you have done wrong, and never be above asking for forgiveness.
9. Laugh. Every. Single. Day.
Laughter is truly the best medicine. Without it, we simply could not survive. Be silly. Be goofy. Have fun. Our world is full of way too much negativity and heartbreak as it is. Use laughter as a way to take some of the hurt away. Be there to make others laugh as well. Take delight in making others smile. Remember that play is a part of life, just as much as hard work. Life is about so much more than working yourself to the bone just to end it with regret. It’s about admiring the sunsets, dancing in the rain, and laughing so hard your belly hurts and your eyes cry beautiful, happy tears.
10. You are never too old to believe in magic.
I don’t ever want to hear that “magic” doesn’t exist. You may not be able to grow money on trees or make unicorns appear with the snap of your fingers; that type of magic is not the magic I speak of. You know that feeling when you give someone a gift so special and their face lights up? You know that feeling when a child looks up at you like you are the smartest, most amazing person in the world? You know that feeling when you see an elderly couple, still so incredibly in love with each other, as much as they were when they met 50 years ago? That. That is real, pure, magic — and my dears, that is something that you never, ever will be too grown up for.
So yes, my kids have, in fact, learned some of their choicest four-letter words from me. They may have also gotten some of my less-than-perfect attributes. And of course, it goes without saying that I am by far no child psychologist, and definitely no parenting expert. I will also be the first to tell you that they too may, in fact, slip up with some colorful metaphors from time to time. But if they can remember and practice these ten life lessons, then swearing is the least of my worries.
No matter what side of the great curse word debate you land on, I hope that you can remember that ultimately what matters most is that our children are wanted more than anything, cared for above all things, and loved beyond reason.