I was in the bathroom last night shouting various pleas and threats to get my children to come and brush their teeth before bed -- I wasn’t getting much cooperation, but it wasn’t too long before Abe showed up.
“Mom,” he said, “Remember that family night story last night about the girl asking her friends not to say bad words?”
“Uh-huh,” I said. Though, in truth, I’m not sure I did remember exactly. My memories of our family night the previous evening were more of throwing together a quick lesson when I realized Mike wouldn’t be home to do one, someone shouting that Penny was tearing the pages from a library book, someone else complaining that Goldie wasn’t being reverent and shouldn’t get any ice-cream, and I remember trying to get my children to pay attention to different scenarios and how they could best be handled. One of these scenarios, I presumed, was what Abe was referring to.
“Well, I did that in school today,” Abe humbly told me, and then the rest, but first, a little background for you:
Abe has recently become great pals with a certain boy at school. He is forever telling me what the two of them did at recess or bringing home pictures they made together where they each took turns drawing something startlingly ferocious onto the same dinosaur (until, in the end, the fearsome creatures have wings, horns, swords coming out of their sides, etc.). Apparently Abe’s pal had been using an offensive word, and so my brave boy mustered his courage and said, “It’s alright if you use that word, but could you please not say it around me?”
“Wow! Abe,” I said, “I can’t believe it! I’m so proud of you! It takes a lot of bravery to do something like that!”
“It does??” He asked, his smile growing bigger as he thought it through, “yah, because you don’t really know if they’ll like just keep saying the word, or like not want to be your friend anymore.”
Luckily, his little pal was willing to curb his language to please Abe. Here is the thing – the one small thing: It may be that his language didn’t necessarily warrant much curbing. You may be the judge, but the word he was using, apparently, was, “Holy.” When Abe told me the word, I was a bit confused. I asked if he meant he was using a holy word, like the Lord’s name, or was he using “holy” followed by a four letter word? No, just “holy” – more as in, “holy cow!!”
Well, hmmm. I’m not sure in the strictest terms if that is considered a swear word. I’ve always thought it rather innocent myself, but it may be that Abe has a keener understanding than I. After all, haven’t I explained to him that we don’t use our Heavenly Father’s name as an exclamation because it is holy?? Well, if we are to be careful with holy words . . . certainly you could argue that “holy” must needs be holy.
I didn’t care. I wasn’t about to ruin this moment by mentioning that his courage might have been slightly unnecessary. I was truthful enough when I said, “I’m happy that if something made you uncomfortable, you stood up for what you believed, Abe.”
And, what of his playmate, you ask, the kind pal who really wasn’t saying anything so wrong. What is he, or his mother for that matter, to think of being asked not to use such a word? I don’t know. I will leave that to them. My boy learned a valuable thing and I plan on being extra careful not to shout, “Holy Cow” from here on out.