Friday, July 3, 2015

My Little Heathens: Swearing and Skepticism


It sounds so cute coming from a 6 year-old.  But I cannot let him know this.  Instead I have to take a short break from making dinner and go be daddy-cop.

As a skeptic parent, you haven't lived until you've had to explain why certain words are "bad" to your six year-old child.  You try to tell them that certain words are considered rude and that children shouldn't say them.  Anxiety builds as this strange idea works its way into their head.  Then comes the most terrifying word a 6 year-old can utter, "why?".

Intense anguish grips your gut as you know you have to try to explain something drilled into your head as a child and accepted as a matter of course.  Yet you are proud the little bugger asked why; you know you're doing something right!  You try to explain that "the S-word" is a rude way to say poop.  Then the little guy asks the next impossible question:
"Why is shit..."
"Don't say that word, bud."
"Why is that word ugly, but it's ok to say poop?"

Ugh!  Those wankers at the hospital didn't tell me parenting would be so hard!  I've used up my weekly quotas of "because I said so," so I tell him that we will look it up.
"Can I go outside and play while we look it up?"
Smart kid.  He'll make a good politician some day.

After awhile he comes back in and I sit him down to explain why cussing is bad.  After an over exaggerated eye roll he resigned himself for my lecture.  I tell him that most cuss words are insults, they call someone a name and hurts their feelings.  As for why poop isn't bad but the other word is, I told him that a long time ago people decided that word was bad, and so it has been ever sense.

"That's silly, dad."
Yes, it is.  I think he'll be a Senator.

But some words, I tell him, were thought to hurt the gods.  Either physically or it would hurt their feelings.  The eye roll that produced was one of incredulity, "That's stupid, dad!" By his tone, I could tell he was getting annoyed with his old man.  I told him I was serious, but I don't think he believed me.
"Even Jesus, dad?" He learned about Jesus from his grandparents and his kindergarten teacher.
"Yup, even Jesus."
"That's stupid, dad.  I don't believe you."

I ask why not, and he said that no one is that stupid, so it can't be true.  I think he'll be President some day.

For further reading try the following:
Nine Things You Probably Don't Know About Swear Words
Cursing: A Damned Persistent Lexicon

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