Saxophone Fire and Bad Words

There is nothing like having two children to remind you how strange, funny, and complicated language can be. Try answering the question “why is — a bad word?” in a way that makes sense to a four year old. Yesterday she asked me if hate was a bad word, and I was trying to explain that it not a good word to use about people, but was ok to use about things. Not sure I was successful or she was satisfied, but I wouldn’t trade that conversation!

Sometimes it’s easier to just declare the word as bad, such as s—t in Boom Boom Pow by the Black Eyed Peas. Should a four year old be singing Boom Boom Pow or listening to it? Bad language is something they will encounter whether they do or not (my own use of language occasionally needing some cleaning up) and learning to filter is an important life skill.

Sometimes it’s easier to deflect. My seven year old likes Sex on Fire by Kings of Leon, and rather than explain the sex part, my wife has – for now – convinced them both that the song is Saxophone Fire. Good for a smile on any day, and another on the day when she figures out the title is wrong and then we get to explain it.