Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The G-word

As I was carpooling E and D to school this morning, E asked from the back seat, "Mama, is 'God' a bad word?"

"'God'? No, 'God' isn't a bad word," I said. "In fact, 'God' is usually a good word. But some people think it's disrespectful to use the word 'God' in certain ways."

"Yeah," chimed in D: "you shouldn't take the Lord's name in vain."

E and D have both heard kids at school chew one another out for doing that. Indeed, I was volunteering in E's classroom a couple years ago when I was privy to such a conversation between two first-graders who were working together at a small table. It went more or less like this:

Girl (shaking her head at some ridiculousness): "Oh God."
Boy (appalled): "You take that back!"
Girl: "What?"
Boy: "You said God."
Girl (realizing both that she's busted and that she's found the right button to push): "No."
Boy: "You're taking the Lord's name in vain! Take it back!"
Girl: "No. I can say 'God' if I want."
Boy: "You take it back!"
Girl: "God God God God God God God God!"
Boy: "You shut up now, you %#*!!@, or I'm gonna get my brother to whip your butt!"

Anyway, back to this morning's conversation, I said, "that's right. So 'God' is a good word that people sometimes use badly, but it isn't a 'bad word' like some other things people say that I'm not going to say in the car right now."

"Oh!" said E brightly, "like the F-word, the A-word, the S-word, and the C-word?"

"Whoa, you know all those words?!"

"Yup," said E and D simultaneously, proud of their scandalous, alphabet-defined playground vocabulary. Then E, ever honest, confessed, "Actually, I don't know what the C-word is..." (D: "Me neither.") "...Or the D-word...Or the E-word..."

Four letters down, twenty-two left to go. Maybe after a few more years of schooling, they'll be able to tell me what the Z-word is.

No comments: