“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 as he waited 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 expected 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 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 responded.
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 looking everywhere but at me.
“I said a bad word.”
“You said a bad word, that’s right. Why did you say a bad word? “I asked her.
“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,” she said.
“Where did you learn that bad word anyway?” I asked very interested to find the source and get rid of it.
“I heard Melissa say it to her sister. I heard Tara say it too and I heard it on the bus lots of times.”
“Do you like the way it sounds,” I asked her.
“Well, I don’t know,” she said. “It was the first thing that popped into my head.”
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. Every day I see more and more popping up. I know that the longer I let them sit, the deeper their roots will become. 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.
“What are you praying about?” she asked curiously.
“I am praying that God will help me to help you understand that it is wrong to say hurtful things and nasty words. Even though you may hear these words from others, you have to remember that it still isn’t right. When people say bad words it’s because they haven’t stopped to think of something else to say to better express themselves. I know you are a very smart girl and if you took a moment to think about what to say before you say it, you would think of something much better to say than a nasty old word that makes you look stupid and makes God unhappy.
She looked up at, stood up from her seat and walked over and hugged me.
“Thank you for not spanking me. I’m sorry, I will try to think next time and pray like you did.
I don’t know how much what I said sunk into her, but I believe that praying in front of her before I said what I did had more of an effect than anything!