“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt”
I was never one to swear growing up. I went through a short phase in elementary school when I experimented but after telling my brother to f*** off I felt so bad that my mom didn’t bother to punish me. I lost the taste for it after this experience and maintained the speech of a good little Christian girl.
To be honest, I became pretty legalistic about it and was shocked to high heaven when I went to Bible College with a bunch of farm kids. They taught me to swear again but with milder words like “sh*t”. Fancy that.
I continued on with mild “potty” talk until my daughter started to speak. My husband was never a fan of my language and began to have a real case when Sofia started repeating everything she heard. I had to reevaluate my freedom to speak as I wished and think more about what was beneficial and constructive for my family. This reevaluation of my speech encompassed not just my use of “classified” swear words but other harsh language as well.
“A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”
The thing about kids is that context is lost on them. I may know how to appropriately use words like “hate” and “stupid” but my children don’t. Our tongues can light fires and even words as simple as these can ignite conflict both within the family and with friends on the playground. “I ‘hate’ this food” at dinner time would make mama mad. “You’re ‘stupid'” to a friend would hurt said friend’s feelings.
I want my children to learn gracious speech. The words that come out of our mouths are a reflection of who we are as a person, whether we are full of love, kindness, and thankfulness, or whether we are full of anger, discontent, and hate. I figure that if I can teach my children a way of speaking which displays kindness and gentleness, it will go a ways towards enhancing these virtues within them.
I can’t say that it has been the easiest thing. We all need words to express our frustration and “dear me!” doesn’t always feel strong enough. But it is worth it. It is worth it to use “softened” exclamations of frustration if only for moments when my “goodness gracious!” is met by Sofia’s sing song “great balls of fire!”. Much more appropriate than “what’s a shit?” and just as entertaining.