Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Don't Teach Your Kids To Spell

It's a family TV night. We're going back and forth between Dancing with the Stars and the Cleveland Indians game. Niether one is very exciting. I'm not a fan of professional baseball or professional dancing. I've never been so glad we didn't have picture in picture on our television. I don't think I could handle watching both at the same time.

Donna wanted to tell me something we just saw on tv was 'dumb.' The only problem is that we don't allow our kids to say that word. (I know that is a silly rule, but I just don't like to hear kids constantly say things and people are dumb.) So Donna, out of habit said, "That was d-u-m-b." Her comment was immediately followed by Emily's (our six year old), "Momma, I know how to spell and you just said a bad word."


Emily is sitting with me, and I can see her little mind trying to process this contradiction. Is it wrong to say 'dumb'? Does mom really think it is wrong to say 'dumb'? Maybe what is right and wrong changes from time to time. Is this a classical case of situational ethics? Have I witnessed a paradigm shift in the ethical mores of my family? What is the epistemological foundation for banning the word 'dumb'?

O.K. Maybe she wasn't thinking all of that, but I do wonder how she processes this.

It might not be such a serious matter if Emily rebels one day and sows her oats by saying 'dumb' over and over and over, but I do wonder if we are sending the same kinds of signals with more important matters. I wonder what messages we're sending about the importance of prayer, the seriousness of gossip, and the value of loving the people God puts in our lives.

Something for all of us to think about.