“Words hurt daddy!” That quote is from the movie Hall Pass, and I’m sure it’s been used throughout many schools, and homes before that movie was ever made. It’s repeated a couple of times in the movie, and although it was funny at the time, the words could not be more true.
Growing up with a big sister was tough. Sibling rivalry was no different in our house than in any other household, I’m sure. It doesn’t really matter if you have a big sister, little sister, big brother, or little brother. In fact, I don’t think it really matters if you had a sibling at all. Riding the bus to school, sitting in classrooms, and playing at the local park allowed most of us to at some time experience sibling rivalry. Names were called, hits and pushes were handed out on the regular, and sometimes the occasional curse word slipped through our young mouths.
I still remember the name of the kid that taught me how to cuss. We were in fourth grade, and he had been held back a year. He sure was smart when it came to foul language, though. Jimmy Buckner was his name, and in a small way, I suppose I owe him a bit of gratitude for teaching me these oh-so-powerful words.
To be honest with you, I haven’t really heard my kids use foul language yet. I don’t really expect to…It’s just that I wouldn’t be that surprised. I refrain from using curse words in front of my older kids, but not so much in front of the younger ones. It’s not that I don’t think my younger ones can pick up on it (in fact, they’ll probably start repeating those bad words in the next week or two since I’m writing a blog about words). I’ve had my share of uh, awkward moments with the older girls when a song comes on the radio and they start to sing it (including curse words), but quickly silence their voices when that part comes on.
My topic of words hurting refers to name-calling more so than the curse words. I hate it. In fact I dislike using the word hate. I dislike calling people names no matter how old you are. Why, you ask? Well, to be perfectly honest, because words really can hurt!
Over the last couple of months, while getting on to my kids, they have figured out a way to get me to pause and stop yelling for a minute. They throw out just downright mean words to me. And I’m their DAD! I don’t appreciate when my kid all of a sudden calls me a “freak.” I don’t like being called a “jerk.” I could be alone in this, but I really don’t like when my kids use this ploy to disrupt their getting in trouble for something totally different. I honestly cannot stand when they “forget” they have younger, impressionable sisters in the vicinity and they yell at me to get away from them, while they call me a name, and run up the stairs.
It’s hard raising four little girls to be “good.” It’s even harder to expect myself to be able to stop all name-calling, all insults, and all hurtful words. I understand kids will be kids, and they are not perfect, and neither am I. I was watching the movie Grown Ups the other day, and one of the characters has married an older woman. He says he loves her because she just “gets it.” I know I’m only 31 years old, but sometimes I feel like I just get it too. When I hang around younger people (not just my kids), or when I hang out with older people who have no kids and no idea the daily struggles us parents go through, I struggle with my responses to their behavior, their actions, and their judgements of me and my family.
My wife and I are trying very hard to raise four girls and two of them are only here part-time. In the grand scheme of things, I hope for all four of them to be respectful of all other people (not just their elders). I want them to realize that they really should treat people how they would like to be treated. I hope they realize that what they say, and how they say it can either make a person feel really good on the inside, but it can hurt people just the same. I hope they have lots of friends and very few enemies.
In the meantime, while I am still growing up, I’m going to have to stop over-analyzing every little thing that is said in my house. I’m starting to realize that life goes on, even after an eight year-old calls me a jerk.