See, my boys get big eyes and very worried looks when they hear me say things like this:
"Uncle Andrew is helping to fight the fire in California and just got stationed in Hell's Canyon."
Or, from the Bible, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Or, from More Adventures of the Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald, "Tom and I rode on the seat of the buckboard with Papa who was driving our team of Bess and Dick."
Maybe I should enjoy this time when even "shut-up" and "stupid" are bad words in their every-day vocabularies. Because I'm guessing that soon enough, those and far more offensive words will be added. But I had to let them know that the way a word is used is often more important than what the actual word is. Sometimes.
Any word spoken in anger or hate can be offensive. Whether it's "darn" or "sugar" or "barnacles." I've heard some pretty offensive flips and fetches, that in my mind were no different than if the queen-mother-of-all-swear-words itself had been uttered.
On the other side of the coin, there are many words that are considered swear words, that are perfectly fine when used the right way. And there is no need to giggle or worry that you are saying the wrong thing.
"How do we know when it's OK to say a word that might be a bad word?" The kids asked. "Can we just say whatever we want as long as we aren't mad?"
Hmmm. Not exactly. I told them that if they were talking about a structure built by Beavers, or a place in California that has been affected by fires, or reading the scriptures, or a story about a man or animal who's name is short for Richard, then it's perfectly fine to say the words that describe those things.
They seemed to get it.
I just better not hear them holding their tongues and trying to say "ship."