A couple weeks ago my son came home and said some kids at school sometimes call each other bad names. A parent’s worst fear, I asked what words they were using. With complete sincerity, my son answered by spelling out s-t-u-p-i-d and s-h-u-t-u-p. I nodded seriously and told him that sometimes kids are mean and as long as we are being kind and sweet maybe in time things will change.
A few days later, again my son started a conversation about bad words at school. Again, I asked him what words the kids were using. My fears became reality as he spelled out a-s-s and b-i-t-c-h. My heart sank and my eyes teared as I felt the innocence of my little boy begin to slip away.
Then, today, my son came to me and asked what the word b-a-s-t-a-r-d meant. I asked why he wanted to know. He said a girl in his class had called him that and it seemed like a mean word because she was mad when she said it.
I said, first of all she used the word wrong because the word doesn’t apply to him and secondly, did he do something to her to cause her to be mean back? He said not, she was just mad about losing at a game they were playing. I explained what the word meant and said that if she didn’t have a better way of expressing her emotions towards the situation, he should probably ignore her. I don’t think he was buying it. After all, this is real life and kids feelings get hurt. And I know this.
I am not naïve. This won’t be last or the worst that my son will learn on the playground. But I want him to know that he has so many ways of dealing with the mean that comes his way. I want him to learn the right words for feeling ‘sad’ and ‘angry’ and ‘hurt’. I want him to know that those kids who hurl bad words at him are using the lowest form of hurt available.
Still, as a mom, I mourn his loss of innocence. There is so much more ‘reality’ ahead of him. There are so many more means ready to be flung his way in the form of words and maybe even sometimes punches. But I’m going to be there every time telling him there is a better way, a strong way. I will equip him for life and as I sit here with my heart breaking for him, I realize that more of my time will be spent praying over my children as they face those big life issues of purity and innocence and growth and strength. I need so much of that strength. God give me that strength!