“Dianne, Do You Ever Swear?”

Gratitude Day 336

Thurs., Oct. 10, 2019

Exodus 20:7: “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.”

The question came from the back seat of the car. Articulated by our seven-year-old grandson, Dylan.

“Dianne, do you ever swear?”

Completely out of the blue. No build up. No anticipation. Just right to the point.

“I’ve never heard you swear, Dianne. You just don’t swear. Have you ever said a swear word?”

What an interesting observation, Mr. Dylan.

I assured Dylan that, yes, I have sworn. At times. But I try not to swear on a regular basis.

“Why?”

I’m not sure that I gave the best possible answer when I said, “I think swearing is unattractive.”

I had a teachable moment … and missed it.

About 30 minutes later, we were still in the car. We had completed one errand and were on our way to the chili supper at a local church. I don’t think the questions about swearing were connected to us attending a church dinner. Yet, Dylan asked basically the same question. Again.

And again, I missed an opportunity to talk about why swearing isn’t such a great idea.

I think I was completely stuck on the point that Dylan has never heard me swear.

Let’s be clear. Yes, I have sworn. At times, I lose my patience and spit something out that I regret later. Do I purposefully try not to swear in front of kids, including our grandchildren? You bet. I prefer to set an example which includes choosing words that get my point across without dissing God. It’s not God’s fault I’m angry in the moment. Why should I use a word that does not respect God?

Maybe what I found most interesting? Dylan personalized this situation when he said that I had never sworn in front of him. He just has never heard those words come out of my mouth.

Before anyone signs me up for “Grandparent of the Year” award, I have not earned it. Rather, I pray that we see how important our words are.

There’s a lot of noise in our lives these days. We can surround ourselves with constant voices and words all day long. Personally, I relish the times when I am in the car alone, just with my thoughts. I need moments to reflect, refresh and rejuvenate. I often replay conversations in my head. What could have I said differently? What surprised me?

As I replayed this conversation while driving home, I was disappointed with my response. But here’s the lesson I took away: choose your words carefully when speaking to the little people in your life. For that matter, big people as well. Words matter. The tone of your voice matters. The loudness in which you speak is noticed. Just when you think someone isn’t paying attention, they are. You have an opportunity to speak with your actions as well as your words. Do both well.

I wished that I would have explored the no swearing reason with Dylan more clearly. I could have handled it differently. Maybe for today, just knowing that swearing is something I choose not to do is enough.

For questions from little people that make ME think, I am grateful. 

Holy God – sometimes, it’s too easy to disrespect you. We use words that do not honor you and our neighbors. May we see that our words matter. Help us say things that honor you and those around us today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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