It’s really sad that I am even documenting this account. But I feel it’s worth mentioning.
Tonight I went to spend some time with my infamous Mexican neighbors. I really love them. Batman and I have become a regular fixture – and by all accounts we are members of their family.
Over the past couple years we’ve come to know not only them, but many of their extended family. And just like our neighbors, the rest of their family are quite pleasant and easy to get along with. Of course with the extension comes a whole slew of children. Obviously this is great because it gives Batman and the rest of the kids more playmates.
For the most part, all of the children are well behaved. Obviously, as a parent, you tend to notice when other children are engaging in behaviors that you might otherwise not allow your children to engage in. Usually it’s not a big deal – personal convictions that you tend to pass on to your progeny – but no huge character issue that you should feel so compelled to try and break them of.
However, there are those times when someones child does something you simply are not okay with – a violation of your moral code – and dare I say, crosses a boundry which conjures the desire in you to…beat them? This happened to me tonight.
When I showed up, all the kids were running around and having a grandiose time – par for the course. I noticed a brother/sister duo I’d seen many times before amongst the group. They are usually well behaved. I did however observe the younger boy (4 years old) occasionally using profanity. I’ve brought it to the attention of the adults before, but they blew it off saying that the father didn’t really care. It’s one of those fine lines that you wish not to cross – you can’t tell someone else how to raise their kid.
Tonight however, his mouth was all ablaze. In a span of about 30 minutes I witnessed the child using the F-word at least 3 times. My immediate reaction was to shield Batman from this and affirm in him the expectation that he is NOT allowed to use this language. He understands.
I approached the little boy at one point to say, “Hi”. I think the mother in me was subconsciously thinking if I gave him some positive attention he might cut it out with the F-bombs. I did so, but was subsequently met with a swift and smarting kick to shin. I looked to his father for some kind of retribution. FAIL. No bother, I laughed it off. It’s obvious there is a severe lack of discipline going on here. And ultimately, it will be his parents that pay the consequences for their lack luster parenting later in life.
I continued to commune forgetting the injustice to my shin that occurred only moments before. But before I could really settle in, I again heard the infamous F-word being blurted from this child’s mouth. All the children were in the vacinity and I decided it was not okay – so I chose to take matters into my own hands.
My initial plan was to address all the children in an effort to not single the one bad apple out – express the importance of using kind words – and encourage them all in good behavior. But only ten words into my speech the bad apple, with disdain in his face, confidently looked at me and said,
go f_&# yourself!
I am not sure what exactly happened but I can tell you upon hearing these words directed to me from the mouth of a 4 year old child I saw red. All I remember was crouching to my knees to meet him at eye level and saying something to the tune of, “Excuse me, you will never speak to me that way again, I don’t care how your father allows you to speak in your home, but you will never use that language with me. I am an adult and YOU WILL NOT talk to me like that, do you understand me?”
He froze. It was clear he had never been told it was not okay to speak like that – especially to an adult. I am certain he will never forget me. Nor anyone else in the room. Because the once loud and lively room of about 20 people had become silent. They were shocked. I could care less.
It’s infortunate that it happened. But not because I had to repremand the child. He needed it. He needs the discipline. That’s the part that’s unfortunate – he is obviously not getting any.
I was grateful when my own son, in an effort to back my reprimand, blurted out, “Yea – you gotta say nice words like: Let’s be friends.”
I am blessed to have a child that demonstrates some level of respect – but more so that my efforts to train him right are paying off. Batman is a good boy. And honestly, that little F-bomb dropping boy is too. But no one is reeling him in. That makes me sad.
Needless to say, I left moments later because I think I ruined the party. But at least I left knowing that I did the right thing. Because if my child ever spoke to any of my friends like that, I would hope they’d tare his little butt up – verbally that is.
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. -Proverbs 22:6