Starting a blog has me thinking a ton about words. How many to write, best way to say something, coolest words, best way to get my point across…
With my kids I tell them they are allowed to swear with me, to get out their feelings with words when it is just with me. I think it helps take the power of the words away. I started this by asking them the worst swear words they knew and they both looked at me like I was insane. I told them to just say them, and after a few laughs they realized they are just words, and they are not in trouble with me for saying them. We would roll the windows up in the car, scream some “bad” words and we laugh and I gain a few points for being the Cool Dad.
Recently, my daughter has started working with special needs kids at her dance studio. She’s a 13 year old going on about 25. She has loved this experience. Working at 8:30 am on Saturday mornings is probably not what all 13 year olds dream about, but my daughter LOVES it. She beams with pride talking about the students and working with them.
She will also defend those kids against anyone. One time at a party with a bunch of my friends and family someone made a remark saying “those retards…..”. I don’t think he meant any harm by the statement, but my daughter stood up and said “don’t use that word; it is offensive and not appreciated”. The friend apologized and the conversation switched to something else, Patriots or Red Sox related, but I was FLOORED.
I was so proud of her for speaking up. It’s one of those moments you don’t forget. I don’t know if my daughter found her voice that day or it was the first time I heard her voice, but it was awesome.
Since that time, I have said the word “retard” a few times, and each time she corrects me. It’s not something I say related to a special needs person, it is more of a reflex or something I have just done forever, never knowing the impact my words could have on someone.
Recently, I was home alone and someone on the Celtics missed a shot and I said “you ret…, I mean, you dummy”. No one was home, no one was around to correct me, but I did it myself. This all happened because of my daughters persistence.
This does give me hope for the future that CHANGE can happen. I’m not saying it can happen overnight, but I’m saying if a 13 year old can stop a 38 year old from saying just one word, than change is possible. I don’t want to make this into a guns, trans, black or white thing…I just want to say I’m proud of my girl for seeing what is right and acting on it.
Small changes can lead to big huge changes…one word at a time