Monday, January 30, 2012

The Inquisition.

Isaiah:  "Mom, what is 'gay'?"

Me:  "Gay?"

Isaiah:  "'Gay.' What's that?"

Me: "Gay? Uhh. . .it means that you're happy."

Isaiah:  "No, the other meaning."

Me:  "Of gay?"

Isaiah:  "Yes, mom. I heard this boy say that the way somebody was jumproping was 'so gay'. The other boy that was jumping got really, really mad. Like really almost crying mad."

Me:  "Was he trying to be mean to him?"

Isaiah:  "I think so, Mom."

Me:  "Sounds like he was. Is he a friend of yours?"

Isaiah:  "Who?"

Me:  "The boy who was being mean. Or the boy who was jumping rope."

Isaiah:  "No. They were both older. Like maybe fourth grade. I know them, though. I was just there because we were out there playing."

Me:  "Oh.

Isaiah:  "So is that a bad word? 'Gay'?"

Me:  "When used like that it is. It's a very mean word when used that way."

Isaiah:  "Mom, that boy says 'stupid' a lot, too. And I think I even heard him one time saying a real bad word. One of the real ones that grown-ups use, not like stupid."

Me:  *coughing* "I don't want you to ever call somebody 'gay' like that or say what someone is doing is 'gay.' That's not cool. At all."

Isaiah:  "I didn't think so, Mom. It sounded mean how he said it. Why is it a bad word?"

Me:  "It's not always a bad word. But explaining what it means is kind of a mature thing to try to get you to understand. You know like how I say some shows on TV are mature?"

Isaiah: "Yes. Like 'The Family Guy' even though it's a cartoon."

Me: "Exactly. Like that. So when you get older I can explain why that word when used like that might hurt somebody's feelings. For now, just don't say it."

Isaiah: "Okay, Mom."

Me:  "I'm glad you told me, though."

Isaiah:  "Mom?"

Me: "Yep."

Isaiah:  "Can you take us to Target today to buy us a new toy with our allowance?"

Me: "No, dude. We just went. Remember?"

Isaiah: "'Dude' seems like a bad word when you say it."

Me:  "Well, it's not."

Isaiah: "You always say it when you say 'no' or you want us to hurry up or get out of your face."

Me: "Oh yeah? Alright, dude. Go ahead play and let Mommy finish reading her magazine."



Happy Monday.


  1. You are such a wonderful and wise mom.


  2. Tough issue; gracefully handled.

  3. Grade school. Everything starts out so fresh and new, squeaky clean. Then that day comes when your child tells you he heard a bad word and you suddenly ache because some innocence was lost.

    You and your son shared a true quality moment there.

  4. My kids go to a public school and are friends with many kids who have gay parents, so we had to have the talk pretty early. We also had to deal with the whole Prop 8 thing a couple of years ago, which, unless you were living in a hole, got very divisive. They took it in stride -- we didn't go into the sex part, just that sometimes women love other women or men love other men and that their father and I agreed that love was the most important issue and that people shouldn't be looked down on because of it. The word that really infuriates my kids, though, is "retard."

  5. Lena -- Thanks!

    HMS -- Surprisingly it didn't feel so tough.

    Ellen -- Ain't that the truth.

    Elizabeth -- You're awesome. And yes, that word that infuriates your kids? It should never, ever be a noun.

  6. The boy is quick. You taught him that a word can be bad based on the "intent" behind the word.

    And he called you on that, Dude. ;)

  7. Nice lesson and sharing with your blog fans.


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