My kids say “butt” when referring to their butts. We also say “bottom” and “booty”. “Butt” is just as acceptable in our house as the other two.
Disclaimer: This post may be nothing more than ramble and rabbit trails. And is surprisingly political at times. Just so you are forewarned. Also, I really love writing disclaimers. It makes me feel edgy and controversial.
Many children, especially preschool age, are discouraged from using the word “butt”. I, myself, did not grow up being allowed to say this word, like many of my friends and cousins. The only person that I was aware of who was allowed to say “butt” was my beloved grandpa, Poppy. He called all of his grandchildren “butt-heads”, very affectionately, of course. My cousins and siblings all thought this was hilarious, mostly because the word was so taboo. But we all got a kick out of my Grammy’s razor sharp glare at Poppy when he would commit this great offense.
The way it came about that my husband and I decided to let our kids say “butt” was a simple, in the moment, parenting decision. My husband and I say the word so my three year old, Jenkins said it, too. Upon hearing that word come from my precious son’s mouth, I paused with concern. I looked at my husband and said, “Are we going to let our kids say ‘butt’?” “I don’t know,” he replied, “I don’t really have a problem with it. Do you?” “No, I guess not,” I agreed. And that was that.
So why write a post about my kids saying the word, “butt”, you may ask. I keep asking myself that question even while I am typing this. I just have a few thoughts on the subject and want to share them with you.
One point is that some parenting decisions don’t have to be thought through and dwelled upon before coming to a conclusion. We all know that we all parent differently. And I also know that when we say this, we are all thinking that our way is really the right way. But regardless of whether we approve of it or not, every parent draws the line in different places.
Of course, there will always be a definite right and wrong about many things. I love the black and white of right and wrong. I want to know the right way and I want to be aware when I choose the wrong path. I like knowing what is acceptable in a particular situation and what is not. The church is full of do’s and don’t’s and some of them can be quite silly. But they are either firmly based on scripture or they have some reason behind them. A few of these reasons may be outdated and no longer apply. But the ones that come from scripture should still be held to today by Christians. Morals shouldn’t change with the times. But even if you aren’t a Christian, many people can agree that bad decisions have painful consequences.
Aside from natural disasters and personal tragedies, the right path will bring a life with less of these ramifications. Wrong decisions have punishments and results that make life harder. If you murder someone you will either live your life running from the law, or live the rest of your life in prison, and in both cases you will have to carry the guilt that you stole someone’s life and brought pain and suffering to the family members. This is just an example of a clear wrong.
I want my children’s hearts and mouths to be full of uplifting words and encouragement. I absolutely hate bad language. Not just because it is offensive. But because it’s negative, and if used too often, shows a lack of vocabulary. I don’t think that the word, “butt” falls into this category, though. It is just a word that commonly means a particular place on the body. It’s not a pretty word, but butts aren’t pretty either. I definitely don’t want to ever hear my kids call someone a butt or a butt-head. Name calling is never acceptable no matter what words are used. When they are referring to a bo-hiney, they can call it a butt. It is not a swear, an exclamation of anger, it is not directed at a person, and it is not a curse. It is just a butt.
I have come to realize that by using this word, it has opened a new conversation that I get to have with my boys. When I know another mom does not want her child saying, “butt”, I can prep my kids for this situation. I tell them that not everyone uses this word and it’s not a bad word but we want to be respectful to other people. And I don’t think for a moment that this prep means that my kids won’t intentionally say the word in front of these people. Because I know at least one of them will try to squeeze that word into a conversation. But when they do, they have actually committed a wrong that can be punished. First off, they disobeyed their mother (big no no) and secondly, they went out of their way to say something offensive.
Being offensive in itself is not wrong. The fact that some people continue to breathe offends someone, somewhere. As Christians, I know many of our beliefs are incredibly offensive even if we communicate them in the most genuinely loving way possible. Humans will always offend other humans. It is not wrong or a sin to offend. What is wrong is going out of your way to offend with no other purpose but to break a rule or feed that desire inside of you to stir up drama.
I don’t want my children to feel that they have to live by other people’s rules when there really isn’t a clear right or wrong in the situation. But you better bet your butt that I want my kids to be respectful of who they are around. I love that the word, “butt” has helped them understand that not all things fall into right and wrong categories, and that grey areas exist. But being respectful is always the right decision. There are too many examples of conflicting points of view that can cause division with others. Why go out of your way to force someone to have a conflict with you? I know some people need to lighten up about some things. And keeping secrets from Nana because she doesn’t approve of you drinking alcohol isn’t exactly the perfect solution. But how hard can it be to be respectful of someone else while you are in their presence or in their home? You probably won’t be around those people very often anyway or for significant periods of time.
Now flipping to the opposite side of this discussion. When there are topics of conversations that are controversial but still have value, offending others should not be the only consideration. Truth offends people as well as personal opinions offend people. We see this on the news with all the social justice warriors on college campuses refusing to allow another person to express their point of view just because it is offensive to some. We must be aware that people are different from us. They live every part of their lives differently. So why be surprised that they have a difference of opinion? If a clear right or wrong does not exist, then conversations should be explored by both sides of an argument. Someone can’t murder you just because they feel like it is a right decision since you cut them off in traffic. But if someone has a different view on drinking, or immigration, your offended feelings are not to be catered to. Being kind and delicate with your words in controversial discussions is important. Especially when you want the other person to actually hear your point of view. If you are easily offended, you don’t have to literally listen to other people’s opinions but you can’t stop them from having them or saying them.
Conversations and conflicting opinions are incredibly valuable, especially in our society. If we only surround ourselves with knowledge that supports our sides, then we can never truly learn the truth about something or can’t, at least, become sympathetic to the people who believe differently. So many times when my opinions are challenged, it gives me a chance to remind myself through research and conversations why I believe this or that. I can take that information and decide to abandon the belief if it doesn’t hold up when put to the fire. But many times, my belief is strengthened and I can confidently explain why I hold a position the next time it is challenged. Either way, hearing the opposite side of an issue is not only helpful but crucial in becoming better critical thinking humans.
So when I decided to allow my kids to say the word, “butt”, was I making a calculated parenting decision to teach my children about right and wrong, gray areas, being respectful, and allowing others to be different from themselves while knowing where they stand on whichever side of an issue? Not at all. I just don’t have a conviction about saying the word. But it is interesting that a simple decision can lead to many life lessons and conversation topics.
Do you let your young kids say “butt”? Did you like all the butt pictures on this post? I thought they really brought so much aesthetic quality to my writing.