Last week, a young friend at church told me how pained she was after getting a call from her six-year old’s school teacher. The boy was reported to have dropped the ‘F’ word, or more like an ‘F’ bomb!
Now, my friend is one of those people you will never hear such words from; even when I use insults like ‘idiot’, ‘fool’ openly to describe people who annoy me, she cringes.
She never swears and she hates words that give me relief especially when I am behind the wheel on Lagos roads.
She’s a good Christian mum, you see, unlike some of us; so I understood her pain when it had to be she, of all mothers, who got called that her son was heard swearing like a drunk sailor.
Some of you must have been sent videos of kids doing things that shock or amuse us; of recent, I got one of a baby girl laying hands on her mother and ‘speaking in tongues.’
This video is cute; it was shared on several platforms I belong to.
Another video I saw recently was of two Asian babies on a bed; both would be no more than 18 months. One climbed on the other in what is popularly called the doggie style and began to hump.
This one wasn’t cute or funny at all and you don’t want to share because it’s disgusting. Those who shared, I hope, did so to warn parents to be careful what they let their children see.
Which brings me to the essence of what I told my young friend.
We do not live in a bubble; our kids these days aren’t hearing us anymore, they are listening to millions of other voices talking to them, most especially from the Internet, movies, friends who are exposed to all kinds of things from their older siblings or even parents and many times, our voices are drowned out by these other voices.
Take, for instance, our generation had no exposure at the scale at which today’s kids are open to all forms of influences, so when our parents instructed us, it was pretty much all we heard and learned from.
Today, parents are competing with several other people for their children’s attention… and sadly, many parents are losing out.
We live in a community of people who, whether we like it or not, are shaping our children.
I recall my own daughter at age three telling me to ‘shut up your fucking mouth,’ when I was scolding her brother for something.
Where did she get that from? I had no idea but it could have come from anywhere.
Did I blow hot?
The little thing had no idea what she was saying. I found it amusing but had a sit down with her.
Yes, at age three, I told her it was a ‘bad word.’ And only bad people used such words. Did she use the word again? Maybe behind my back, perhaps.
I am not omnipresent, so I can’t be everywhere my kids will be but I simply trusted she would do the right thing because I repeated it over and over again until she began to roll her eyes every time that line of conversation came up.
So how does one then keep children upright, prevent them from using swear words or external influences that we do not want?
And because kids do a lot of copying, parents or caregivers should be mindful of what they do even when they think the kids are not looking. The example of the humping Asian babies is rife.
Finally, pray! Pray for your kids, you’ll be surprised how far that goes.