As my kids get older and spend more time playing with other children, I have noticed them trying out some new words. Most of these words aren't "bad" words, but they are words that I don't want my kids throwing around. I enjoy words and don't want my kids to be scared of language. Most words aren't inherently good or bad but many are sharp and can easily cut.
In Loving the Little Years Rachel Jankovic teaches her kids that words are tools and some tools (like kitchen knives) are too sharp to be handled by young children. I appreciate this analogy because it creates a new category for words like "stupid" and "shut-up" and "ugly". These words are not bad but these words are sharp and thus require wisdom in order to be used in a way that won't hurt people.
Next time your child introduces a word into their vocabulary that seems too sharp for their little mouths - remind them that some words are like knives and they may use them when they are older. In the meantime, they can listen to the way you use those words and (hopefully) learn how to wield them in a way that is appropriate and full of grace.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
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