When I was in about 4th grade at a small town public school a girl showed up and she was very ‘cool’. She had cool clothes. She was mouthy & disrespectful. And, when I hung out with her on the playground she told me that she was allowed to cuss and swear at home. Being raised in a Christian home the idea was shocking. All of my friends had Christian parents. But, it was also tantalizing. She was from a different world. I had to learn more. So, I hung out with her for about a week. She shared her favorite curse words. I said “Yes, I use those too.” She said “I cussed my sister out.” I said “Oh, I do that.” She looked at me with a raised eyebrow and said “Really? Tell me what you said.” I thought quickly. There were only a few cuss words I even knew existed. Finally, I settled on just repeating the few I knew. I finished my made up tirade and looked at her. She was smirking. She was not convinced and I was embarrassed. I did not hang out with her again. The whole experience was short lived, but I still remember it to this day. As the years went by I realized the importance of friend choices. I’ve always had amazing friends. *blessed*
Probably in the 5th grade the word ‘weird’ caught on. Everyone was saying it. I decided I’d say it too. A girl has to constantly work on keeping her coolness up. I started using it at home the first day I decided to introduce it into my vocabulary. My father said, ‘What does weird mean? What is the definition?’ My sisters and I looked at each other. Um. “It means strange”. My dad said ‘Go get the dictionary and look it up. You shouldn’t say words you don’t know the definition of.’. I still remember looking it up and reading the short definition. ‘Weird – magical or unearthly.’ I have even told my kids that definition without looking it up. Funny how that stuff just sticks with me even years later.
Not long after that, maybe a year or so, I decided that ‘sucks’ was a word I should include in my vocabulary. Other kids at school were saying it. And, I heard it often enough that I could make it sound normal in conversation. I started small. I used it in group settings of friends. No one batted an eye. Excellent. I’d pulled it off! My ascension to coolness was on its way! I continued to use it out of my parents earshot. It became engrained in my speech. One day my sister and my friends were at my house. I was probably in 6th grade by then. My sister said something and I replied loudly “That sucks!”. My dad looked at me. I instantly got red. I was in for it. I knew it. My dad sat down and said “Do you know what sucks means?” We said “yes, it means like awful, or stupid or something.” He said, “no. It comes from a sexual reference” and he went on to explain. My sister, my friends, and I just stared at him. What was he even talking about? It may have that meaning to some people, but it certainly didn’t to us. In fact, why was he trying to be so logical about the whole thing? We were simply being cool and using the common lingo. I remember staring at him and thinking ‘this conversation is really bizarre. I am never going to remember this and it’s not a big deal if my friends & I are saying cool things. I can’t wait to be a parent so I can just let my kids do whatever and never correct them about stupid stuff.’
Now, I’m a mother. I have three amazing children. And, every once in awhile they say something or do something that brings out the logical conversation moment. Just the other day they all three downloaded a fun new app all their friends are playing. It’s called “Make it rain”. They asked me. I looked at it. It seemed harmless enough. It’s actually pretty lame. They constantly have to ‘fling’ money on their screen. Each of them was trying to outdo the others and their friends. Whatever. No biggie. It’s not like they are sending inappropriate photos or anything. My husband was in the kitchen while they were talking about it and he said ‘wait, it’s called what?’ My oldest said (slowly for his poor OLD dad to hear and understand) ‘Make it rain’. My husband said ‘Do you know the what the phrase make it rain means?’ and he began to explain that gang bangers use that term in how they spread money to strippers.
And, immediately I left the room to go in my own room and have a chuckle at this full circle my life has had. From the pre-teen to teen who was positive logical conversations would have no bearing on my life (and yet I remember them decades later) to the parent who explains things logically in hopes that it will make a difference somewhere in the kids’ brains. Sometimes yelling is the go-to, but sometimes I try to sit down and be calm and logical so the kids might listen. We will see. They just might…