Growing up, both Matt and I had a restricted vocabulary.
I thought it was nothing short of tyrany at the time, but looking back, I'm so very grateful that both my parents and my in-laws taught Matt and I to value the gift of speech, and to carefully discern the words we use in order to present and express ourselves in the best way possible.
This, by way of lucky chance of being our children, is why our kids also have a restricted vocabulary. One of the words on the Do Not Say List is 'butt.' Instead, we say 'bottom.' It's been working out just fine.
Until recently. We have talked with the older boys, especially, about how other kids may say words on our Do Not Say List, but Dad and I are not their parents and other families have their own rules. We have ours.
It just gets very sticky when Henry's friends "all say that word," so most days Henry comes home from preschool saying it over and over again because he's been saying it at school with his friends all afternoon. Obviously, John Paul now gets the green light to talk that way because Henry is using that word, and if Henry does it, it's the law.
So yesterday afternoon, I sat the boys down to have a little talk about the words we've been choosing to use lately. I explained that Dad and I don't like it, talking that way makes you not sound like a nice boy, and that God hears you speak that way. He wants you to listen to Mom and Dad, so it makes Him sad when you sin.
HENRY: Wait...what is a sin again?
ME: Well, it's when you know something is bad, but you do it anyway.
JOHN PAUL: Oh! Like bad guys!
HENRY: Yeah! Like, when the bad guys rob a bank or steal a woman!
ME: Well...sort of...
HENRY: So, that makes God like John Wayne?
ME: Um...well...I guess...
HENRY: Okay. If the Sheriff says don't do it, I won't. I don't want to go to jail.
I'm not sure why I didn't put the concept of sin into the perameters of a Western. It seems so simple now. I think my spiritual life would probably be in better shape if I thought of it from the perspective of a 4 year old boy.