Her son is a great speller. But, Shankari wasn’t quite ready for him to be spelling this.
Yesterday as I was parking the car, my 6-year-old (Tercero) happily informed me that he had learnt a new word. Now Tercero loves new words. At family gatherings his party trick is that he spells words such as unhygienic and unrealistic for adoring elderly relatives. I was expecting symbiosis (thank you, Octonauts).
You can imagine my surprise (and understand my near parking accident) when he said the word…actually, I can’t even say it.
He said the C-word, and then he told me he could spell it – because he’s very proud of his spelling. Last year, he came second in his kindergarten class for the spelling bee and I’m guessing this word wasn’t on the list.
So before I could pull the hand-brake, those sweet little lips of his proceeded to spell the word.
I was horrified, and later when I reflected on the incident I was also proud of his phonemic awareness, I couldn’t help myself.
But mostly, I was horrified.
I have a friend whose Swearing Policy is as follows: Time & Place – there is a time and a place for such words and all people must learn the appropriate time and place.
I think we can all agree the primary school playground is not the time or the place.
My parents’ Swearing Policy was simple: Never, Ever Do It (this was a policy they extended to a number of activities, but that’s another blog post).
So profanity was not something I became fluent in until I left home. Decades later, I can now swear in several languages, none of which I actually speak. Profanity is also something I’m not comfortable hearing from my children. I’m just not.
For a different view: Why I don’t give a f*ck that my kids swear.
My Swearing Policy, which I re-iterated to young Tercero is as follows:
1. Swearing is rude – I actually don’t know why swearing is rude, it’s just something my parents told me and if my children ever probe me on it, I’m likely to swear in German and change the subject.
2. The English language is beautiful and varied – there are so many other ways to express the strong emotions you feel right now. Challenge yourself and find another way.
I also have an Annex which contains a list of words that are considered ‘swear words’ – including but not limited to: shut up (yes really), idiot, hell (unless we’re having a theological discussion), the phrase ‘Star Wars is boring’, the F-word and now the C-word.