Opinion | former TCW issue

The Mother of All Swear Words

Be (or become) the go-to for all your kids' questions.
The Mother of All Swear Words
Image: MARK CARREL/ SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

When I was in the first grade I noticed an unfamiliar word scrawled on the bathroom wall, so I went home and looked it up in the dictionary. I'm not sure how I knew not to ask my mother what it meant, but after reading its definition, my gut instinct was validated: here was forbidden stuff, with a capital F, if you know what I mean. There was no way my mom knew that word. Thank heaven for Merriam-Webster.

Twenty five years later I had a first-grader of my own. Jeff and I decided to take a different approach with “dirty words”—we decided to attack them head-on. So one day after school I casually asked our oldest child, “What bad words are the kids using at school?” He hesitated for a second and then said, “The “S-” word,” a look of anxiety on his face. “What’s the “S-” word?” I asked, hoping I could cover my own rising panic.

“I can’t say it.”

“Sure you can. You can say it to me.”

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview
To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.
Already a CT subscriber? for full digital access.
July/August
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.

Read These Next

hide this
Access The Archives

Member-Only Access

Subscribe to Christianity Today to continue reading this article from CT's digital archives.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? to continue reading.