Proverbs 21:23 "A person who is careful about what he says keeps himself out of trouble."
This was the theme verse in the little devotional book I use for the kids. The little story that goes with it talks about saying kind things and being nice. It's perfect for kids. We read this during breakfast, and then after naps that day Judah was playing outside. He came back in after a few minutes all red and sweaty and says, "Mom. I'm so freaking hot." (Although with his little speech difficulty it sounded more like "oh wee-ing ot" but I knew what he meant.) I laughed because it really did strike me as funny. It must have been the next day that my sister called me and was talking about a situation with her in-laws when she dropped an f-bomb. It took me by surprise since I don't hear it very often, but it didn't surprise me that she spoke that way. It's just the way she talks, although generally she tries to be more careful when she's talking to me. What really upset me was that she was talking that way in front of her children. What upset me even more than that was what she said to justify what she was saying..." I just can't think of any other way to say this except for ... "
These two incidents got me to thinking about how I talk in front of my children, as well as away from them. Why was I ok with my son using the word "freaking" to describe things, but so appalled when my sister used the other "f" word? I began to wonder how often I must use 'freaking' in conversation. It's a lot. And if he has picked up on that, what other things am I saying that he is going to repeat?
I've already had an experience, with Lincoln, where he repeated something I specifically told him should "stay at home". We had been discussing some family friends and he had questions, that I felt should be answered honestly, but I also didn't feel like our conversation should be repeated back to them. Of course, only days later, his Sunday school teacher pulls me aside to let me know that he repeated, pretty much verbatim, everything he was told not to say. What should I expect? He's just a kid...a little kid. And, when he heard me repeating the same information to my husband, my mom, my sister, and my other friend, and probably posting it on facebook, I'm pretty sure he got the impression that when mom says "don't talk about it", she doesn't really mean it. (Um...oops.)
I wonder when I'll get it. My kids are paying attention to what I say. My children are learning from me, on a daily basis, how to talk to others and how to treat them. My sister did send a text awhile later that apologized for her foul language. She reminded me that she isn't perfect. I, oh so gently and motherly, reminded her that it's not about perfection. It's about being aware and being careful. And then I reminded myself. Be aware. Be careful. It's good to keep out of trouble.