When you are a kid it is so awesome when your parents or teachers sanction a little naughtiness or join you in doing something that is normally against the rules. I still remember when my parents let us kids swear a bit on a road trip. Totally awesome.
Now, I use the word swear loosely. You see, when I was a kid we had some pretty conservative rules about swearing. It wasn’t until junior high that I even realized that outside of my house, the “S word” wasn’t shutup and the “B” word wasn’t butt. Yeah, we weren’t allowed to say butt – rear end was the accepted term. So, given that I thought the “F” word was fart until I was thirteen, the time that my parents let us swear on a road trip is still a vividly cool memory for me.
It doesn’t sound like much, but for me and my siblings, it was hours of pure inappropriate pleasure. Look at the dam man. There goes a dam car. I have to cross that dam bridge again. Curse those dam rocks. Check out that dam water. Oh, dam.
The best part was that the adults on the trip joined in. My parents laughed every time we came up with another
damn dam joke. That made it so much funnier.
A good friend once shared a similar experience with me. When she was a kid, my friend’s parents banned the words “Retard” and “Retarded” from their house – for obvious reasons. Parents banning words is to be expected. However, what made this childhood memory particularly delightful for my friend was that her parents gave her a word to subsitute for “Retard.”
My friend’s parents taught her and her sibilings how to use the word Asinine (adjective meaning extremely foolish or stupid). Aside from the fact that her parents gave the kids in her family permission to call things extremely foolish and stupid, which was cool in its own right, the word itself was totally awesome in the most inappropriate way – markedly pronounced by every kid in her household: ass–uh–nine. You can bet, my friend laughed, that they found reasons to use the word ass–uh–nine at least fifty times a day.
I haven’t taught my own kids the word asinine yet, and I am pretty sure they still don’t even know what a swear word is. And that’s good right now. But I have already observed how much fun they have when we break a few rules together. Like getting to eat a treat in bed every now and then. Or letting them stay up a little later than normal to watch a movie on a weeknight. Why not? I say as they giggle with the excitement of getting to break a rule, of adult sanctioned naughtiness.
Parenting is serious business. Dam it. But sometimes it really pays off just to make them giggle. The real business of parenting is about making a connection, even if it means taking off your serious suit for an hour and doing something really ass–uh–nine.