I was silent this morning. I am usually not at a loss for words. But, today was different. My little world surrounded by four car doors was only filled with the sound of the radio and my little one singing. I glanced to the left and saw the usual dry wetlands. I looked to the right and saw the usual ducks hovering over the water. And I noticed the car in front of me slowing down. Traffic. Yes, I experience traffic everyday but not in this area. I sat there and waited. I see a motorcycle in the rearview mirror flying down the emergency lane. The driver slows down behind me and stops…then start to look down at his bike. He starts to drive again but continues to look down and misses hitting my car by inches. I actually braced for the impact.
I yell out, “SHOOT.” But I didn’t say “shoot.”
The bike drives off and acts like nothing happened. The car is silent again. After a few seconds, a voice from the back ends the silence.
“Daddy? You said it. You said a bad word.”
I sighed. I felt badly.
“I’m sorry baby. I was angry…that motorcycle almost hit us.”
My childhood was filled with foul language. I lived with a father who cussed all the time. He cussed when he was mad…when he was happy….anytime. But, it affected me most when it was directed at me. As I grew older, I chose not to cuss..because the words brought back many bad memories. In fact, yelling itself causes anxiety attacks in me. So I felt terrible. I was silent the whole drive until that point….and the one time I say anything…I say the wrong word.
As parents, we can’t control everything. We drop off our children at school and expect our kids to have conversations with each other about cartoons, ice cream, and cute puppies. I remember hearing bad words flying out of my classmates’ mouths in second grade. And I joined along because I had no clue what they meant…but hey, everyone else was saying them. Sorry mom, if you are reading this. Yes, your son had a potty mouth in second grade.
My daughter is curious about things. A few weeks ago, my little told me that her classmate told her that there were “secret words.” And we all know the “secret words” are. The day is coming…the day when I will catch my daughter saying bad words. Honestly, I wouldn’t know how to explain why we shouldn’t say bad words. They are words.
“Well, why are they called ‘bad words?'”
“Because they are just bad…they are mean…and we shouldn’t say them.”
But, that isn’t good enough. That explanation will not satisfy her.