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Bad Daddy!



So the other day I'm driving the kids home from school. And usually we're much closer to being the Simpsons than the Flanders. (Flanderses.) Lots of yelling and demands for silence accompanied by impotent threats into the rearview mirror. But this time we have a sort of magical moment listening to a song and then joining in for the chorus.

The Father (52), the Son (10), and the Holy Daughter, (7) all belting out the chorus with as much harmony as we can manage.

The song? Um, nope, not Frere Jacques. Not Row, Row, Row Your Boat.

I'm sorry mama, I never meant to hurt you, I never meant to make you cry, but tonight i'm cleanin' out my closet. {one more time} I said i'm sorry mama, I never meant to hurt you, I never meant to make you cry, but tonight i'm cleanin' out my closet.

The rest of the lyrics here. (Warning: words like bitch, shit and fuck. Don't click on the link if you're going to be outraged.)

I don't worry about my kids hearing "bad" language. I think by obsessing over forbidden words I give those words power. I don't fear hell, damn, shit, fuck. They're not really very meaningful. They don't hurt anyone. I don't let my kids use them (much) but I'm more upset by use the word "hate." I tell them that hate is an evil emotion, and that while you can use it to say you hate cheese you cannot throw it around casually in referencing annoying kids at school because it's just possible that you might really hate a kid at school and hate is not something you ever want in your brain.

It's the intention and the emotion that concerns me, not the word. If my 10 year old smashes his finger and yells "fuck!" that's not really a big deal. He ever calls another kid at school a "faggot" it won't be the word itself that bothers me, it'll be the intention behind the use of that word. "Fuck" gets you a weary verbal reprimand without much heat behind it. "Spic," "fag," or "nigger" would get you the full-on angry daddy lecture accompanied by tedious history lesson and threats of dire consequences.

Fortunately, although my kids are clearly brats they don't seem to have any capacity for real evil. And when we're singing Eminem songs together, damned if we don't actually sound pretty good.

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“Bad Daddy!”

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