Bad Words and Innocence




You may find this difficult to believe, but I didn’t know the F word until the end of my first year at university. I knew the expression “effing and blinding” but I had no idea what the “effing” really was; nor did I ever ask. It’s even more pathetic. In the sixth form I had read a book called “Yield to the Night” by a woman called Joan Henry, who had, herself, spent time in prison. (If you type “Yield to the Night” into Google you get masses of info about a film of that name starring Diana Dors, but that came later.) In the book the word f—g appeared regularly. That, I thought, must be the F word. I knew the words fag, fig, fog and fug, so I reasoned that the F word was feg. You may think this demonstrates appalling ignorance, to say nothing of stupidity, or, if you’re feeling generous, you may put it down to innocence and naiveté.

Which brings me to my four-year-old granddaughter. With her white blonde hair, blue eyes, and enchanting smile she looks, to her doting Nain, like a little angel. However, having brought up her father, I know appearances can be deceptive. Recently, she has been in such trouble at school that her parents were summoned. She had been giggling and chatting during story time and saying Bad Words.

Utterly gutted, and dreading what he was going to hear, my son asked the teacher what these bad words were.

“Weewee”, “peepee”, and “bumbum.”

Oh! the relief. Daughter-in-law was mortified but Son and Nain thought it was a huge joke. I even shared with him the truly terrible swearword I had learned from my next-door-but-one-neighbour at the age of four and will never forget. “Farmyardwompoostinky.”

That sort of innocence makes me question those experts who think it is appropriate to teach children as young as four about gays, lesbians and transgenders. Do they truly have the well-being of children at heart?

“Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” I’ve always thought that on the occasion when our Lord said those words, it was a child’s innocence, purity and lack of guile He was welcoming. Surely that’s what we should be cherishing in our little children as long as we can, not dragging them into our over-sexed secular world at all costs.

NB Neither of the girls in the photo is my granddaughter; they look more like 7 or 8 year olds rather than 4 year olds, but they still have a joyous innocence about them.

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