Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In over my head

There are certain things about motherhood that you expect before they happen. The crawling and getting into things. The walking and subsequent falls. The potty training (which, I might add, I think we have successfully conquered. I'm saying I think because I don't want to have to come back tomorrow and eat my words. But so far, so good...even at nighttime. Glory be!).

What I did not expect, at least at her ripe old age of 2 1/2, was the fact that there is no way to explain to her the difference between saying "God" in a reverential manner and saying "God" in a flippant, careless way.

This girl, she hears everything. She hears a stranger passing by, casually tossing out the phrase. She runs through the living room and hears somebody on TV saying it. She might not care about anything else that is being said, but she will for sure hear that. And so she does what any other 2 year old does...she repeats it.

Now I am not legalistic in any sense of the word, but I do believe that my Savior deserves the utmost reverence and respect that I can give Him, and for our family, we believe that means avoiding taking His Name in vain. And I will be the first to say that I am not perfect, not by a long shot, but having a little girl with great big ears certainly keeps me on my toes in this area.

So when she began to pick up on this, she at first said, "Oh my dosh". Which was kind of funny but not really the way I wanted her to be going. So I offered her an alternate phrase, "Oh my goodness!"

And she was happy with that. But that does not stop others around her from saying it. And when they do, she is oh-so-quick to run to me and correct them.

"Mama! They not say 'Oh my God", they say 'Oh my goodness'!" And she is not afraid of saying it right to their face...she came out of class the other day and told me her teacher had said Oh my gosh, and that she told her to say Oh my goodness.

So, I can live with all of that. But the hardest part comes when we are reading Bible stories at night. As one would expect when reading the Bible, the Name of God comes up frequently. And she just doesn't understand this. The first few times she told me, No! Say goodness! To which I tried to explain that when you are reading the Bible, or talking about God, it is ok to go ahead and say it.

Totally confusing.

So now she thinks that it's ok to say it whenever you are reading books, any book. She was reading her Dora book today and she brought it to me, saying, "Look, Mama! It says "God'!" Which it did not. But she figured since it said it in the Bible, which is a book, and she was reading Dora, which is a book...well, you get the picture.

I think I'm in over my head on this one.

I also don't want to make it out to be such a HUGE deal that she becomes completely fixated on it. She's still young, and doesn't quite make all the connections. But I still don't want it to become an ingrained phrase that will be harder to work out later.

So tell me your thoughts on this one. I know opinions on the right or wrong of it will vary greatly across the board, but I would like to hear if you have had to deal with this at all. I also know that substituting "gosh" is usually the way most people go, but in her little head, they sound pretty much the same, and she does not differentiate between them.

So. What do you think?


Rachelle said...

Brandon is a cousin to our old friend Duane Lapp...Duane went to CFNI as well. We have not seen them in a LOOOONG time. Phil grew up in the same church as them, but after my hubby took a job with a new church we kinda lost touch.

In regards to the adoption...We will have waited two years come November 13th. November 2006 is when our paperwork arrived in China. We actually started paperwork Feb 2006...It's a long wait, but lot's of peace in the journey. Thanks for asking and for your prayers. You can follow our journey here on the old blog!

Good luck with the God/Gosh/Goodness thing...I need to get that one down my own self =)

Casey said...

This makes me think of my younger brother. Growing up he had really bad asthma and could not be around any cigarette smoke. It was explained to him that it would cause him to stop breathing. He knew that meant death. So anytime we were out and he saw someone smoking he would walk up to them and say "That smoking is gonna kill you dead. And me."

It would embarrass my mom but it usually got the people to put out their cigarettes!

Out of the mouths of babes!! :)

The Sullivan Sitcom said...

I vote for goodness! I think you are totally doing it right. Try not to make a huge deal of it and keep trying to explain it to her. She'll get it! For goodness sakes, she's only 2 1/2....did you get that one...goodness! HeeHee!

You've got a smart one on your hands!
Good luck!

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

I say 'goodness' or 'oh my'---hard to remember for sure!
Good luck :)

Smilingsal said...

What do I think? I think you have a VERY smart young lady growing up at your house!

I totally agree with you that OMG is an offensive expression waaay over used, and I do believe that it is using God's name in vain.

Perhaps the explanation that "sometimes other people do or say things that WE would not choose to do or say" would help.

Try that. Children this age are so black and white.

Wendy said...

I always tell my kids when they hear other people or the TV use language I or my husband don't approve of that other people may talk that way but WE do not. (And believe it or not, I don't control the world.)

It's harder when they're 2, though, to explain that. I think you just need to keep reiterating the proper usage of God's name. She'll get it!

Jodie said...

I echo what Wendy said. Sweet little heart. She's just trying to get it right.

I understand though - sometimes it is just so hard to find the words to explain it to little ones. YOU know the difference but it's easy to over-complicate it for them. I struggle with this same thing with my own.

In this instance, we use goodness and sometimes gosh too - but mine are a little older and understand the difference. Pray for wisdom and the right words and don't sweat it. That's my advice. She'll get it... more than anything she sees it modeled in front of her so I wouldn't worry about her internalizing wrong beliefs about it. His grace is sufficient to cover this. She'll get it soon enough. :) You're doing a good job with her. :)

THE ROOST said...

I am just impressed that you care about this important issue. It does matter and it is not a small deal. You are teaching her to honor God and His name. That is a good thing. Try something totally non g related like Oh my word....Keep up the good parenting!

Chel's Leaving a Legacy said...

What a sweet girl...I agree with all the above...don't sweat it. She'll figure it out sooner than you think. Just keep telling her to use goodness or something else that is not so much like His Name.

Commercials really frustrate me in this area. My (at the time) 9 year old said his first curse word because of a Kohler commerical.

It's a constant battle for the heart of our children. But keep up the good fight!

Michelle@Life with Three said...

She's young. Keep being a good role model by using the terminology you want her to use, yourself. I agree that the more of an issue you make it, the more she'll fixate on it. It's not going to be a behavior that sticks. Once she gets it, she'll be alright. Although, I did think substituting "Goodness" for "God" in the Bible works, too! I mean, He is Goodness. Pure and simple! :)

SarahHub said...

Oh, I have just started thinking about this! I say "Jeez Louise" all the time, and Evie has started repeating me. My mom keeps scolding me, and I can't quite decide if it's bad or not...

Maybe I'll go with "My goodness."

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Awww! Bless her heart. It is so hard to grasp some of these concepts at age 2. I think you are doing a wonderful job Jackie! You are a great mother to instill these important things into her at her young age. Keep it up friend! You are impacting a life and that is incredible!

mamachristina said...

it so hard to protect our childrens ears from things others say. but you are doing well being strong in your belief and she will see that. good luck!

Jenn said...

We use "Oh My Goodness" at our house as well. I think that you are doing a great job. I wouldn't worry about her telling you that other books have the word God in them. I would just continue to explain it like you have been. Reading God's name in the Bible is okay. Using it when we are thanking God is good too, Etc. If she uses it inappropriately then just gently correct her. It will make sense to her eventually. Plus, you are being a good role model and that is the best way to teach our little ones.

Amanda said...

ugh...i'm with you...definitely in over my head...and can so relate to this. i'm enjoying your readers responses...just don't have a good one of my own! :)

Becky said...

Well, the Early Childhood educator in me is very impressed. Her transference of the word "God" to any printed text shows her emergent literacy development! She is learning that print carries meaning, that words mean something, and that that is what all books have in common! I think regardless of the book or story, she is mimicking you by 'reading' her book and obviously wanting to read about a favorite character, God! Smart girl indeed!
The use of His name is something we all have to teach our children. They will hear "Oh my gosh" everywhere, we are guilty of it slipping sometimes. And, our kids will remind us to say, "Oh my goodness" so, see, our prompting works! Just consistent reinforcement and modeling!
She's too cute!

Gretchen said...

Oh my goodness! Oh my! Oh my word!

All of those work. Also, I agree with Wendy in that each moment is a teachable one. Plus, she's a baby. She'll get it. Good for you for being on top of things, Jackie. What a lucky little girl. Also, maybe if you're talking about God, use Jesus, or Lord--who knows. That might even confuse her more.

It'll pass, right?

Alana said...

We encourage "oh my goodness" in our household. I would just keep trying to explain to her the difference. Eventually she will get it ;-)

Irritable Mother said...

The way we explained not taking God's name in vain was this: If you're talking TO Him or ABOUT Him, it's great to say His Name. Otherwise, don't use it.
It's a simple way to start, and you can get into more explanation and understanding as your daughter gets older.
Like the other's have said - keep up the good work of modeling right behavior and loving her. You may feel like you're in over your head, but God is with you and He will help you!

MoziEsmé said...

She's clever! I can imagine myself easily with the same dilemma one day, so thanks for getting all these wise comments lined up for my use!

Oh my goodness would work for me.

I like the idea of explaining that others may choose to do and say things we choose not to do. They'll need to learn that lesson at some point! I wince when I think back to some of my early witnessing attempts!