“Hey you rotten @#@$#$&*, give that back.”
I heard these ugly words fly out of my beautiful nine year old daughter’s mouth as she yelled at her brother.
“Mom, did you hear what she called me,” he asked with raised eyebrows waiting for my reaction.
“Come here,” I said in an angry, but calm voice.
Her hands immediately flung behind her backside to protect the padded area from the sting she believed would be coming any moment.
“Sit down,” I said as I tried to think before I acted.
She let her hands drop to her side and looked up at me in shock.
“You’re not going to spank me,” she asked looking confused.
“Why, do you think I should spank you?” I asked, curious to hear her response.
“Well, you usually spank me when I do something bad.”
She was right, but I had decided that she had become too old to spank and I needed to find another way of disciplining her.
“Did I hear you say that you did something bad? What was that something?”
She started tapping her feet on the floor alternating right to left and looked everywhere but at me. Trying to come up with a new approach, I paced back and forth along the living room floor biding my time until I could come up with something.
“I said a bad word.”
“You said a bad word, that’s right. Why did you say a bad word?”
“Because I was mad,” she said as she became more relaxed and stopped tapping her feet.
“If I were mad at you and called you a bad word would you think it was right?” I asked, totally winging it as I went along.
“No, that wouldn’t be nice.”
“Where did you learn that bad word anyway?” I asked very interested to find the source and get rid of it as soon as possible.
“I heard Melissa say it to her sister. I heard Tara say it too. I also heard it on the bus lots of times.”
“Do you like the way it sounds?” I asked.
“Well, I don’t know,” she said. “It was the first thing that popped into my head,” she said innocently.
I stopped for a moment and closed my eyes and prayed.
God, please help me here. I’m not good at this, but I know I have to get a hold of these nasty weeds and pull them out before they destroy my beautiful flower. I know the longer they sit, the deeper they’ll root. Please give me the right words to say to get rid of this one today.
I looked up and she was staring at me looking confused.
“What are you doing, Mommy?” she asked curiously.
“What are you praying about?”
“I am praying that God will help me, to help you understand that it is wrong to say nasty words. Even though you may hear these words from others, you have to remember it still isn’t right to repeat them. When people say bad words it’s because they haven’t stopped to think of something better to say to express themselves. I know you are a very smart girl, and if you took a moment to think about what to say before you said it, you’d come up with something better than a nasty old word that makes you look stupid and God unhappy.
She looked up at me in a strange, but warm way, then got up from her seat, walked over toward me and hugged me.
“Thank you for not spanking me,” she said in a sincere and thankful voice. “I’m sorry, I will really try to think next time and pray like you did before I say a bad word again.”
I don’t know how much of what I said really sunk in, but I believe that praying in front of her before I said it, had more of an effect than anything!
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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