I need to get something off my chest, and it’s something I’m going to get a whole lot of flack for. Here goes:
I do not think “stupid” is a bad word.
I’m tired of hearing kids say, “OH!! I just heard the “S” word!!” Or “Did you know they say the “S” word in that movie?” Or “Timmy! “Stupid” is a bad word and I don’t want to hear it out of your mouth again!”
Stupid isn’t a bad word, in my opinion. It’s a descriptive word when, used cruelly, can be hurtful. So, if a child calls another child “Stupid”, that child has used a perfectly fine word in a very mean way. But if the same child calls his pen “stupid” because the ink ran out? No harm done. If I say, “This NY Times crossword puzzle is making me feel so stupid”, that is most likely an accurate statement, and I should switch to doing it in pencil. (As if I get the NY Times!) If someone in the car in front of me makes a terrible choice, causing me to almost have an accident, I feel COMPLETELY justified in saying, “THAT was a STUPID move!”
Stupid isn’t the “S” word. Shit is.
I think we give words WAY too much power. We should be focusing on the context in which words are used, and not the words themselves. If I tell my son to never use the word “hate” because it’s a bad word, I’m taking away his ability to say, “Mom, I really hated school today.” Am I supposed to say, “You mean you didn’t LIKE school today?” That’s unfair. Or what if he hates the way a kid made him feel? Or he hates wearing purple because it makes him feel STUPID? Why is that word so bad? I hate cruelty. I hate abuse. I hate all of my makeup right now and I need some new eyeliners. Is it okay that I used the “H” word?? Now, If G were to come home and say, “I hate so-and-so because they wouldn’t pass the ball to me at lunch”… We need to have a conversation about that word, because it was used in a cruel way.
“Fat” is okay to describe a wad of cash or a punched lip. “Fat” is not okay to describe a human being.
“Ugly” can be used to describe a shaved cat, or the area on my windowsill in the kitchen where all the paint is peeling. It’s also a wonderful word to use when someone is not being respectful: “That is very ugly language to use when talking to an adult.” It shouldn’t be used to describe a person, or anything that person is wearing.
Instead of just giving these words a bad name, can’t we be responsible enough to tell our kids how to use them properly?
My son heard the F-word on a show the other night. Instead of just letting it go, I idiotically pointed out that it was a very bad word. It wasn’t my proudest moment, but it happened. The next day he was in the car with a friend and he said, “I know a bad word that rhymes with puck!” I almost had a heart attack. I whipped around, (I was in the passenger seat, so I wasn’t being a stupid driver), and said “That is ENOUGH!” That night he told me it was so hard to have that word in his head and not say it out loud. So I told him to say it. And he did. (And it was hilarious but I didn’t allow myself to react as though it was.) Then I said, “Do you feel better now?” He said he felt a little better but it was so hard to know the word and not say it. I told him it wasn’t hard and he said, “How do YOU know?”
I said, “Because I’ve used the word many times. It’s a grown-up word, and I’m allowed to use it. But you’ve never heard me say it, and neither have any of your friends or teachers, because I don’t need to say it all the time.” Then I told him if I ever find out that he taught it to any of his friends, or used it in front of anyone he would be in deep trouble.
It is my responsibility to make sure my son knows that the F-Word is not a nice word to use. He knows it now. He can’t un-know the word. But he is in control of himself and he has two choices: Don’t use it. Or use it and suffer the consequences.
So, I am officially taking the position that “Stupid” is not the “S” word. It isn’t, in fact, a bad word at all (in my humble opinion).
I know many of you disagree with me. I really want to hear from you. I also really want to hear from you if you agree with me!
And if you don’t share your thoughts, you’re a big, fat, stupid, ugly jerk.