I remember vividly the first time I ever used a curse word. I was 6 and still in kindergarten. I was trying to get undressed and my shirt was stubbornly refusing to cooperate. With one arm sticking out the top and one pinned to my side and my head buried in fabric somewhere in between I marched out to the living room calling for help. To emphasize my displeasure I stated to all within earshot, including my younger sisters (of whom there were only three at this point) that "I don't even know why in the hell I put this shirt on in the first place."
My mother instantly grew still and with a fury in her eyes I have only seeeen a hanful of times since, demanded to know where I had learned that word. Still stuck in the shirt and confused by her vehemnence at a word that I'm pretty sure I'd heard my grandpa say at least twice a day for my entire life, my bravado waned. "I don't know," I whispered.
"Well!" She snapped, reaching up and ripping the shirt from my head only barely avoiding taking my ears off with it, "That is not a nice word and I don't ever want to hear you use it again!"
I knew she was serious by her tone and withering glance so I said yes ma'am and scurried back to my bedroom, never to revisit the incident again. (Imagine my confusion though the following Sunday at church when I heard the word hell used from the pulpit no less than twice.)
Yesterday afternoon when Gideon dropped his candy and he said "Damn" I didnt bother to question where he heard it. I simply sighed deeply while Travis and his mom looked on curiously whispering, "He didn't hear it from me," and "Well we really do need to start watching what we say," and "I hope he doesn't say any other words he's heard me say." It wasn't worth getting upset or angry over. I simply looked at my sweet son and calmly explained that isn't a nice word and we really shouldnt use it. Instead we should say "Darn" or "Bummer" or even "Rats."
Without a trace of guile my four year old looked me square in the eye and said, "But mommy, beavers build dams."
Damn that kid is smart.