We all know that words are pretty powerful things. They can inspire, encourage, soothe, and even destroy the people they reach. I think parents know this better than most. We have heard ourselves say things to our kids that we never thought we’d say. At night, when we lay in bed we hear them rattle around in our heads, echoing with regret. Other times we see the positive side of the words we choose when we see our kids apply them in real life situations- when they show patience with a friend, or comfort a sibling, or share their faith with a stranger.
For some reason, when hear my words coming from others it seems to have a more profound impact on me. When DS1 says to his brother, “Stop making that noise, it’s so annoying!” it actually sounds a lot worse than when I say it. I don’t think it’s hurtful or rude to tell one of my kids that they’re being annoying; so why does it sound so gross coming from one of them? The worst is when they throw my words back at me. “Mom, stop rushing me. You need to be patient please.” Huh. That’s kind of annoying. I don’t want to be patient, I want you to move your ass so we can go. Maybe this is what he’s thinking when I ask him to slow down and give me a minute. Maybe he just wants me to hurry up and go. I never thought of it from his perspective- probably my #1 problem, I’d say.
Few things, however, really make you stop and listen like the terrible things our kids say. Recently DS1 was getting in the car and he dropped his backpack on the driveway. “Crap!” he exclaimed. Now for anyone who has spent less than 3 minutes with me, you might not know this, but crap is kind of my word. In fact, when I start to type the word crap in a text or email on my iPhone, I only have to type the letters c and r before autocorrect fills in the rest. I have actually used it often enough that my phone recognizes the word automatically. Way to go me. So when DS1 said it I wasn’t totally surprised, but I was still pretty terrified that I had been the source of that little gem. “Where did you hear that word, honey?” I asked innocently, praying he blamed his father. “Cake Challenge on the Food Network. Remember Mom, when that guy lost the top to his Halloween Monster cake right before the final bell rang?” Needless to say I breathed a sigh of relief and calmly explained that crap is not a word we use- it’s a bad word. Thank God his rebuttal wasn’t “But you use it all the time.”
But nothing and I mean nothing sends a parent’s rating on the Crappy Parent Richter Scale like having your kid say something totally inappropriate in public. I’m sure you’ve experienced this. I know I have. In fact, I shared one of our verbal debacles here. Well, today I’ve got another doozy for ya. I’m standing in the check out line in Target (aka my other home) and I’m quietly thumbing through the magazines that line the conveyor belt. Well, let’s be honest, I was actually shamelessly reading an article about Robert Pattinsonson and the filming of “Breaking Dawn” the latest installment of the “Twilight” saga. Did I mention I was also snickering and giggling the whole time because I was totally embarrassed about my choice of reading material? Well, I was.
So as I’m reading the boys are, strangely enough, happily hanging out in the cart with a snack. I know, I was shocked too. It was quite pleasant actually until the beautiful silence was broken when DS2 busted out with the following question…