David has been in public school for three years now. Out there, all alone with the masses. Exposed to the elements I have protected him from for so long now. Every time he has uttered the phrase, "So-an-so said the s word today," I have shuttered, waiting for the word that would follow. But when I ask what that s word might be, his response has always been shut up. Until yesterday...
I have struggled with a potty mouth for most of my adult life. I don't know where I picked it up. My parents guarded their tongues well all during my childhood. And I can't even recall my older brothers using foul language around me. Still, when David became of speaking age, I struggled with my tongue. Struggled. And I still do from time to time, but I pride myself on the ability to hold it in front of my innocent little ones.
The conversation in the car last night on the way home from baseball practice is as follows (Mr. S is the teacher, and D-man is the bad classmate):
"Mr. S says s-h-i-t is a bad word." (He spelled it out for me so as not to actually say the bad word.)
"Why, yes, it is a bad word. An ugly word."
"Well, I didn't even know it was bad word. I didn't even know it was a word until D-man told me it. And I said it..."
"YOU said it, David??"
"Yeah, I said it. But I didn't know it was bad until Mr. S told us it was bad."
Okay - let me explain about D-man. He's the boy in David's class who has a Feelings Journal because he told a little girl in the class he wanted to kill her. He's the same little boy who stole David's watch out of his desk and then two days later showed the watch to David and told him he had found it in the hall. He is the boy who raised his voice to the teacher - a male teacher, for that matter. I am horrified by this child. Horrified. This kid is only in the 2nd grade and he has a Feelings Journal?? How about he needs something more than a notebook and a mechanical pencil. Maybe a father's hand to his behind (or his a-s-s, if you want to get dirty about it). I don't know what D-man's situation is, but I can almost promise he doesn't get much discipline at home. I felt kinda sorry for him until he stole my son's watch and then lied to him about it. Now I just think he's pure trouble.
So, last night, yet again, I am in deep conversation with my son about D-man. I am explaining for the fourth time in the past month that D-man is nothing but trouble and I would just stay away from him if I were David. I have explained that as he moves through life, there will be people who seem like your friend that aren't really. But that's a hard concept to grasp at seven - well, at any age really. I even went so far as to make a prediction for D-man; I told David to watch him as I felt he would most certainly serve some time in the big house by his mid-twenties. Mark my words.
David is still so innocent. I am not saying he is perfect, because he is not. But there is no evil intent behind anything he does. But he has been taught to have a conscience about things. When he does wrong, I have been there to teach and guide him. To punish and scold him when necessary. And the thought that there are children out there who have no guidance is so scary to me. They are the kids who sit beside David at school. They have no limits, no respect for authority, and little hope for the future. I guess as a parent all I can do is pray and teach and hold my breath. I just have to do my job and hope that there are enough parents out there who do their jobs, too. So my kid can have a few friends I trust. Hopefully. And maybe he'll make it through elementary school without learning the f word.