One afternoon after my then three year old daughter Olivia finished her
lunch, she matter-of-factly announced, hands on hips, “Welp…I ate my damn
Then when Ike was four and we were grocery shopping together, he wanted to
introduce me to a new game he’d thought of. He said, “Hey Mom! Guess what swear word I’m thinking of!”
At the time, I was working with the youth group of my church and helping teenage girls earn their Personal Progress award. Each of them set goals to learn, develop, and become better people. Upon completion of the program, a special necklace is awarded. I hadn’t earned my award as a young woman and now, as a leader, was excited to seize this opportunity to go for it.
As part of my journey, I decided that I needed to set a goal of no more swearing. It’s not like my speech was riddled with profanity. I was no sailor. But the fact that my son knew enough swears to play a guessing game about them had me a little concerned!
Over the course of the next several months, I remained very aware of my speech. Not only did I try to stop swearing, but I tried to speak more kindly in general. I started thinking more carefully before speaking. I constantly prayed that I would have more patience. And I prayed that the way I chose my words would be a reflection of my love for my family and for others.
I completed my goal and earned the necklace, and was super proud of myself. But now, five years later, it seems I need to recommit. I often hear myself and think, “Did I really just say that?”
It’s not the swears. Those are still very few and very far between. It’s once again just the need to think before I speak. Recently, my kids have learned some road-rage phrases I’m not proud of. I hear the rants my son goes on about Idaho drivers and I cringe to know that he learned from me.
Though I’ve got a long way to go, I’m starting to catch myself the moment before a group of words falls off the tip of my tongue. And that’s probably a good thing.
Because sometimes, if you could guess which swear word I’m thinking of, it wouldn’t be pretty.