Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I knew there would be moments in my life, as a parent, that would be difficult. Teaching moments. Talking moments. Tough situations. Somehow, I thought these things would happen later... when my kids were older.

But since we don't get to decide when these opportunities present themselves, we have to roll with the punches. Try not to look surprised. Try to make the most of the situation.

Today Gavin learned a new word. A frightful word. A furious word. A foul word. A short word, with four little letters. A word that is easy for a smart seven-year-old to sound out. A word that was angrily scrawled into a picnic table on a play ground.

He knew it was wrong. His smart little brain told him he shouldn't say that frightful, furious, foul word aloud. Yet, he gave it flight as it formed in his mouth and floated from his lips... for all in his friends to hear.

The 'Gaggle' (group of girls in the daycare program who are inseparable and seem to speak and act as one unit) let the cat out of the bag... not to me directly, but without a doubt for my benefit. I could tell by the steely look in Gavin's eye... he was trying to tell them to quiet themselves without saying a word. Like glaring at most girls... it rarely works as intended.

I steadied myself. Took a deep breath and began the conversation. He didn't want to say that word as much as I didn't want to hear him say it. He panicked. But with tears in his eyes we had a conversation. It was a moment to show him that the space between us is safe. We can trust each other... even if the topic is so unsavory.

He understood that using that kind of language, whether intentionally or not, is cowardly. It's offensive. It's not who he is. He's smart. He knows how to use words. Words that mean real things. Words that convey and express and explain.

We talked. It was good... until he asked me the definition of that frightful and foul word. I told him it didn't mean anything which was when he proceeded to tell me his thoughts on the definition. Ugh... I was elated when the subject of conversation changed. Elated.

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