Posted in boys, Christianity, culture, Education, kids, Mom Confessions, Own your Story, Parenting Ideas, public school, Uncategorized

The day I taught my son the F-word

Teachable moments. You know the ones–they come up out of nowhere and scare the living daylights out of you.

“Mommy, is there a bad F-word?”

My heart stumbled. I cocked my head at my first grader. “What do you mean, honey?”

“Some kids in my art class said there was a bad F-word.”

First grade?! Already? Is this what I get for sending my kids to Public School? “Can you tell me the word?”

He smiled sheepishly and whispered, “Fruck.”

Laughter bubbled up, unbidden. So he’s still a first grader. “Well, honey, there is a bad F-word, but it’s not ‘fruck’.”

“So, what is the bad F-word?” He asked, sticking his pencil in the corner of his mouth.

“Uhhh…”
scarterstudios M018I paused, my heart tripping over itself once again. Is this what the Teachable Moment looks like? Wide-eyed, innocent, and 7 years old?

While my pause was calm and calculated, the tension I felt inside twisted tighter until it was a palpable ache: I wanted to preserve his innocence. I wanted to tell him, “It doesn’t matter. I don’t want you to worry about bad words.”
But as much as I mentally chided myself about the “bad influence” of public school kids, I knew that was a non-issue.

Public school or not, my kids were going to hear things and learn things from others as they grew up, public school, private school, homeschool, or Sunday school. I can’t control the moments they are not with me.

But he was here with me right now. This moment, at our kitchen table, in our home, was a safe, teachable moment.

If not now, when?

He was asking me for truth. And the truth was, “asking Mom” wasn’t always going to be his first choice.

So I took a deep breath and said, “Well…yes, honey. There is a bad F-Word.”

I told him what it was. I said the word and he repeated it, making sure he heard me right. I tried not to cringe at the profanity coming out of my baby’s mouth. Instead I pushed forward, plunging down this new path.

“Sweetheart, I’m telling you this because I want you to know the truth. But with knowledge comes power and just because you know this word doesn’t mean you should say it or teach it to anyone else.

It is not your job to tell kids at school that you know this word. That’s their parent’s job, not yours. I am very serious about this. Do you understand me?”

He nodded, his eyes wide. “Yes, ma’am.”

I looked at his face, at the soft, smooth skin on his cheeks, knowing that they wouldn’t always be soft and smooth. I would be kissing stubble on my firstborn’s face before I knew it.IMG_4869I pulled myself back to the present, savoring his innocence and openness and the questions that he asked without fear or embarrassment. That precious door was wide open and I wanted to keep it that way.

“You know, sweetie, sometimes kids talk about stuff at school. Kids think they know stuff. But that’s not always true. But Mommy and Daddy—we do know stuff. So if you ever have questions about anything that kids talk about at school, you can come to us and we will tell you the truth.”

“Okay.”

“Okay.”

And then I helped him do his homework.

It was such a bittersweet conversation.

As much as I want to plant goodness into every corner of my children’s lives, the fact is that the world is full of hard, nasty, evil things. I want to shelter them from that darkness. But I also want to help my sons grow to be men who will be lights in a dark world. And if I am going to teach them to be lights, I can’t ignore the darkness.
F-wordI I have to be proactive.

So, when he asked, I taught my son the F-word.

Should I have told him that we would have this conversation when he’s older? Perhaps. Maybe it was too early.

But at 7 years old, his first instinct was to come to me.  As he gets older, that instinct will fade.

The conversations we have now about language, what’s right and wrong, about light and darkness are forming his very soul.

The Teachable Moment is terrifying but, for me, being keeping the door open in order to teach my children the truth is a gift that can’t wait.

PS. House Church, Cussing, and ASD (teachable moments that DO NOT go as planned!)

How do you navigate these terrifying Teachable Moments?
Have you taught your child something huge and scary? How did it go?
Share your story below!

I hope that my story can bring hope, healing, and happiness to you. TheBamBlog is trying to grow! Did this post encourage you or would it inspire someone you know?
If so, please share! Thank you! 🙂

Posted in Baby, Christianity, culture, miscarriage, Motherhood, My Motherhood

Say "Congratulations!"–it’s the Christian thing to do.

When I was 13 years old, my mom took my older sister and me to a meeting for a para-church organization that did puppet ministry. We were introduced to the leader and a few of the other teens.

One introduction shocked me, mostly because of my mother’s reaction.

“And this is Stephanie,” the leader said, gesturing to a pretty blond girl. “She’s 16 and she’s pregnant.”

“Oh, congratulations!” My mom exclaimed.

There were a few other details shared about the pregnancy, though I can’t remember if the girl was going to parent her baby or place the baby in an adoptive family. Either way, she was 16. She was pregnant.

And my mom told her “Congratulations.”

To my 13 year old self, this was really weird…no, not weird. Wrong. How could my mom congratulate this girl?
She was a teenager.
She was pregnant.
Everything in my narrow, black and white mindset judged this girl for being pregnant when she should NOT HAVE BEEN PREGNANT. 

It wasn’t until this week that this event crossed my mind again and I realized the amazing example my mother gave me when I was 13 years old.

You see, my mother is pro-life. She told that girl “Congratulations” because she was pregnant…and she was choosing life.
LIFE is something to affirm and uphold. LIFE is given by God, no matter the circumstances.

Even though I didn’t understand the example she was showing me at the time, I am so grateful for and inspired by my mom’s reaction to this unexpected pregnancy announcement.

Mostly because I have been disheartened and down-right confused by the negative comments and tone I have received on my 3rd and 4th pregnancies (I am pregnant with my 4th baby right now):

“Are you pregnant AGAIN!? How many is that now?
“Another baby? Oh no!!”
“You’re having another boy? I am so sorry!”
“Do you know how that happens? Oh, honey. I need to take you out to coffee and we need to have a little chat…”

Whenever I get these comments, I smile and say proudly,
“Yes, I am! 4!”
“No, we’re happy…really!”
“I’m excited to have another boy…yes, really!”
(And yes, we know. We like it a lot).

The odd thing is I feel like I am trying to convince these people to be happy that I am having another baby. (?!?!?!?)

I was struck by the similarities in judgment voiced by the author of this article, published earlier this week.  In “Your Mother is Destroying the Earth,” the author describes her constant need to justify her existence as the 5th daughter in her family, citing that it is the WACO (Warriors against Child Overpopulation) feminist leftists that give her the most grief, stating:

Content to bear their own children, they avidly seek to restrict childbearing for other women whom they apparently deem less worthy of free choice.

The thing is, none of the people who said these things to me would probably ever classify themselves as a feminist, leftists WACOs…because all of these comments have come from Christian women.

Our Pregnancy Announcement for Silas, our 3rd son

 One of the foundational elements of a Christian worldview declares this truth: Humans are made in the image of God.

And because of this truth, a Christian worldview declares life to be precious, worth saving, worth dying for, worth celebrating.

 While the comments directed at my 3rd and 4th children gave me a chuckle (and an inner “seriously?” moment), good anecdotes for facebook, and food for thought, these comments also made me mad. But more than feeling self-righteous anger,  I am deeply saddened that this attitude toward pregnancy and new life pervades our culture, even in the Church.

And even at times in me.

My 13-year-old judgmental attitude lasted well into my adulthood. I know that it has taken 3…no, even 4 pregnancies, including my miscarriage, to break the “pattern of this world” and begin to be “transformed” and “renewed” in my mind (Romans 12:2).

I’ve rolled my eyes when family and friends announced their 3th, 5th…8th pregnancies.
I’ve thought, “Good grief! Honeymoon baby? They didn’t waste any time “getting busy” did they?
I’ve dismissed the grief of miscarriage as something that “would never happen to me” instead of extending real comfort to these women during a devastating time.

Until this year.

God has been transforming my mind to truly understand what it means to value life, family, pregnancy, and babies.

Every pregnancy is a miracle (Psalm 139:13-16).
Every baby is a gift from God (Psalm 127:3).
And every baby, no matter if it is the first, third, sixth, tenth, or more, should be accepted as a miracle and gift.

Without judgment, without eye-rolling, rude comments, or snide remarks. Just celebration.

Just “Congratulations.”