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Forbidden Words

As Published in RISMedia.  

I never thought I would do it. I always regarded it as a restriction on freedom of speech. I always believed that people should be able to express themselves freely. Even swear words were not a huge deal in my books, as long as they did not insult or hurt anyone. “Speak your mind,” I always thought.  

Well last night I reneged on that stand and I implemented a new rule in my house. This is what I heard myself spouting:  

“There are two statements I never want to hear in this house ever again. In fact, I forbid you to use them.”  

Me? Forbidding anyone from anything? That didn’t sound like me—I’m all about enabling and empowering—how could I “forbid” anyone from self-expression?  

I continued, “Here are the words I never want to hear: ‘It’s hard’ and ‘I can’t.’ Those words don’t serve you, and they don’t belong in your language. You are done with that.” I laid down the law and that was how it was going to be. It was a monologue following my son’s response to my asking him to do his homework. Needless to say, homework can be a tumultuous experience for a twelve-year old boy who is becoming exposed to increasingly higher academic demands. I was adamant about my request and stopped short of implementing a consequence where he would have to pay a twenty-five cent fee each time one of those phrases slipped through his lips.   

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