I earn most of my modest income through playing with kids, so just in case there are any discrepancies–it’s true:

kids say the darndest things!

{the collection of photos in this post feature some of the super-fly kids in my life.  the pictures are randomly dispersed;  the stories don’t correlate to the children’s pictures they appear next to.}

I watch a 3 and a half year old, and when she was 2, she would thank me for changing her diaper.  She’d say, “You’re a nice girl, you know that Stace?” and “Thanks for wiping me…every time!”

In her less-sweet moments, I would sometimes put the 2 year old in a time out to which she would occasionally respond by smiling.  I asked her once, “You’re in trouble–do you understand that?”  Of course I was seriously peeved that my discipline tactic didn’t seem to be working.  Her answer: “but….I’m so happy!”  Please tell me, how does a person respond to that?

The same girl, when she was 2,  had a book about animals with tails.

After reading the book:

Stacy:  Do you have a tail? Yeah.Stacy:  You do? No.  But I have a butt!

And another day:

Stacy:  I’ll be right back.  I’m going to go potty.  Go poop?Stacy:  Umm…no…? Oh.  You poop at your husband’s house?{wow….this one still cracks me up to no end}

I love asking kids what they want to be when they grow up.  A four year old told me once, “I want to be a firefighter because I’m very good at watering flowers with my grandma’s hose.”  Makes perfect sense, right?  Monkey, garbage man, and bee are other favorites I’ve heard.

As a 2nd and 3rd grade Sunday School teacher, I had my kids do a “get to know you” activity where they each wrote down something they did this summer and I had to guess who wrote each response.  A second grade boy responded, “I got to have a play date with my fiance and my mom said next time my sister could come!”  My first thought: this child doesn’t know what fiance means.  Second thought: but he has the correct accent mark in the word fiance (something my blogging software isn’t even doing for me!)  Unbelievable.

The one and a half year old boy I watch has been known to say, “My Stacy” which is really more like “My Say-see” when trying to get my attention.  Kills me every time.

A three year old once told me, “I don’t want you to go home yet.  I was looking for you yesterday and I couldn’t find you.”  There’s no better way to end a work day than that.

Taking a three year old to Vacation Bible School this summer, in the church parking lot she told me, “Dam* it, I left my monkey at home.”  Awesome.  :)

It blows my mind to consider how much a child really has to learn in those first sweet years of life.   Compared to most animals who are born with incredible instincts that just kind of kick in, humans mostly need to be taught in order to survive and thrive.  Language of course is a huge part of this.  Everything kids hear is a clue about how the world fits together.

What really got me thinking about the power of our words was when, for a period of time, the two year old I was nannying would walk up to me or someone in her family and randomly say, “I love you, too!”  I realized she was probably doing this because she heard the phrase said back to her so often.  The words she heard shaped what ended up coming out of her mouth….in a really cute way.  :)

Our words are shaping people’s worlds.  The phenomena is magnified with children, but it’s true across the board.  We’re either lifting our friends up with encouragement, or something like gossip is bringing them down.  We’re either communicating respect to our spouses when our opinions differ, or we’re degrading them by implying our own way is the right way.  We’re helping someone see the Light in herself, or we’re fueling her internal question: “what does my life matter?”

I challenge you this week to listen more deeply to the words that come out of your mouth. It’s more complexly faceted and important than just “trying not to curse too much” or “keep it clean for the kids.”   Do you mean what you say?  Do you speak words of encouragement?  When you have to confront someone, is it done flippantly in anger or thoughtfully and respectfully after prayer?

:: My “darndest” list that needs tweaking::

  • Saying “I’m sorry” when I haven’t wronged someone.  There are plenty of times I legitimately need forgiveness, but I’m trying to move away from apologizing when there is no need to.  When I sin, I need to apologize for the way I am.  When I haven’t sinned, I don’t need to apologize for the way I am.
  • On the phone, ending a conversation by saying, “I’ll let you go.”  I don’t like this phrase because it inserts the assumption that the person I’m talking to wants to be let go.  To me it reads, “I’ll do you a favor and end this conversation and we can make it look like I’m ending it even though I’m sure you wanted to.”   Who am I to assume they were ready to go if they didn’t say so?  Alternatively, I think it’s more positive to ask, “Well, do you need to go or do you have more time to talk now?” or if I need to go, I want to be more clear by just saying that I need to get going.
  • Saying things like, “If there were only more hours in a day!”  The truth is, we accomplish things we make priority.  We are completely in charge of how we spend our time;  time does not have some mysterious tight grip on us like we often imagine it does.  I don’t need more hours, I need more discipline!

At a recent play rehearsal, the director asked in his cool way of asking icebreaker questions, “What’s one thing you said today?”

My answer after a day of nannying: “I don’t know why your poop is green.”  Ha–I guess we all say the darndest things!

Won’t you share a comment?

What’s something funny you’ve heard a kid say?  What do you need to fine-tune in your own vocabulary?  What’s something you said today?

6 Responses to the darndest things

  • Nancy says:

    Great, thoughts, Stacy! You have such a fun, conversational writing style…I love it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and for stopping by There Is Grace!

  • Autumn says:

    While flying on an airplane Lilia said, “We are almost as high as God.” Then my heart melted.

  • Ashley says:

    Walking through Whole Foods, Ben and i heard a child say to his dad “after this I’m gonna have the cops come and fire you!” I think he was wanting chocolate. :) I tell ya, i would want the cops to come too if someone denied me chocolate! As for me, I’m working on using people’s names when talking to them. I think it shows a little more thought.

  • Sarah M says:

    Last week when my son was sick and had a fever he said his legs felt like cuss words. I keep a book of the things he says that crack me up.

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