“The Bad F-word”
~ Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) ~
I have the best conversations with my children when we are driving around in the car. Both Simon and Sophie tell me about their day, ask questions and share stories. The importance of talking with my children was underscored by a comment that Simon said to me when I was driving him home from Taekwondo one night a few weeks ago. “Dad,” he said in a slightly hesitant voice. “I am never going to say the bad F-word.” He paused and then said the word. A million things ran through my mind at the time. Already! He is just in grade one. I need to make sure he never uses that word again! I better not use that word again, either. How am I going address this? Thankfully, we were almost home. With all the calm I could muster I said, “Thank you for telling me that. I am glad you know it is a bad word. We will talk about this together privately when we get home.” That bought me five minutes to collect my thoughts.
We sat down on the couch and began talking about where he heard the word, who said it and what was going on at the time. To his credit, Simon was very open and honest in his re-telling of the events. When he was finished, we talked about words that hurt people and make them angry. I also asked Simon whether that was the way that God would want us to behave. I ended the conversation by thanking him for telling me, by telling him how I was proud of him for sharing and by reminding him that I was always there to talk whenever he needed me.
During my conversation with my son, I was reminded of a verse from Proverbs — “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when is old he will not depart from it.” It was the very verse that my father recited to me on many occasions when I was a boy…usually when I was getting disciplined. The lessons that my father taught me never really left me, even during the time where I drifted from Christianity. My dad laid the groundwork for me to fall back on in difficult times. While I am using a different method of parenting, the importance of what he did is not lost on me. I am laying the foundation for Simon’s future. While I do not have ultimate control in the direction he chooses, I do have influence.
So what did I teach him during our first serious father/son conversation? I demonstrated that I didn’t over-react but listened to what he had to say. I reinforced that I wanted him to make good choices. Above all, I showed that I will available to talk about any problems he has. Isn’t that was God wants us to do too? He accepts us for who we are, no matter what we have done; he is willing to listen. He wants us to talk to Him about the struggles we are having. Our Father wants us to make good choices. He will always be there for us; all we have to do is start the conversation. I hope that by following these principles in my life and in the way I raise my son, I will lay the ground work for many conversations to come.