There are many words I do not particularly care for nor allow in my home, but two really top that list - hate and stupid. These words really strike a chord in me. They become even more painful if I hear them being said to or by children. I removed them from my vocabulary and have spent the past six years or my life protecting my children from them. Do I sound a bit extreme over these words? Perhaps. I do have a tendency to take things to extremes. Yet, for myself and my family I feel the need to be a bit extreme over some things.
The power of the word hate was first brought to my attention back in high school by one of my dearest friends (Hi Beck!). She pointed out to me just how intense and strong that word is. Take just a minute and let yourself soak in this word and really think about it - it means the opposite of love, the most powerful and beautiful thing there is in this world. Knowing this - could we ever truly feel such an emotion as hate? Also, I think about how much this word is overused in our culture "I hate broccoli", for example. Really? Maybe someone might dislike broccoli, but hate it?! That is quite a strong stance. I don't know, am I making sense here?
After hearing my friend's thoughts on the word and then doing some of my own pondering on it I decided to no longer use it. That was easier said than done. I had used that word all my life, it was just a force of habit. It wasn't until I became pregnant with K that I finally was able to fully move away from using it.
Then there is the word stupid. I don't think I need to go into details as to why I choose to keep this word out of our home but I will share a reason why it is a bit more personal for me. I spent a few years of my young adult life in an unhealthy relationship (to put it as nicely as I can). The person I was with wanted to/tried to control me. He didn't like me being with my friends or family and even told me once that he didn't want me to attend college because he was afraid it would open my eyes too much to what this world has to offer and I would leave him (funny thing is, at the end of our relationship that is exactly what happened). Ughhh, enough on that - but he would always, always put me down and call me stupid. To me, cruel words almost hurt worse than physical pain.
Ever since having K, I was shocked over how common this word is in children's things (from clothes to books to music...). I even found it in one of our beloved Elsa Beskow books - The Sun Egg. I truly believe this was a translation issue, I can't imagine she would have used that word back in her time. I ended up using white out over the sentence "You are so stupid", to change it to "You are not nice".
With all of this said (and a short post turning into a long one), I think you may be able to imagine the shock I went through last week when the word stupid passed my sweet K's lips. She was having a rough time as soon as we arrived at the pumpkin patch and I decided we just needed to leave and try again another day (there is so much more to that story but seriously, that would take up a whole nother post... Kevin had to work on our family day and I had it planned too perfectly with C and I making pumpkin scones while K was at school and getting Baby L dressed in his new longies with his pumpkin shirt and hat... oh my. You know how it is when you plan days too perfectly - they always fall apart.). As we walked back to our car she said "Stupid Mama". It was like a knife to the gut for me. I froze and didn't know how to react. I asked her what she said but she caught on to what I was doing and refused to repeat it. I did not raise my voice at all (which to me was a real test - I try not to raise my voice to my children ever, but I am only human and sometimes my emotions get the best of me) but I just did not know what to say or do. I asked her where she heard this word. She instantly said "NOT from school!", which of course means she did pick it up there. I did my best to explain very simply how unkind and hurtful that word was, but that was all I could do. The pain of hearing her little voice say that word still stings me. I have been trying to connect with her teacher to help me through this. This is something K and I need to work through together. I knew it was coming some day but just not this early.
It feels like, in this day and age, it is just becoming harder and harder to protect our children and their innocence. I know I can't keep them in a bubble forever - but please, please just let me at least preserve their early childhood years! Is that too much to ask?!
I'll be back in a minute to announce the winner of The Organic Family Cookbook in the original giveaway post. Make sure to check back there!