The Day My Daughter Cursed at Church

Laughter Feels Better Than Shame

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash

Here is my memory of that fateful Sunday morning.

My daughter was toddling ahead of me, flanked by my parents. I was several feet away, talking with an old high school friend. Suddenly, I see my daughter stumble and fall. I race toward her, only to hear her proudly shout “SHIT.”

The world stopped. Every blood cell in my body raced to my face, my ears, my neck. I was a tomato. A rotten one about to burst. I needed to hide. Every eye within hearing range turned and looked at my daughter, and then tracked their gaze back to my frozen form.

I was a pariah. A sinner. An utter heathen. I was the momma who taught her daughter to swear. I honestly wanted the world to swallow me up at that moment.

What kind of child was I raising? One who proudly curses at the top of her lungs, apparently. That would not win me Mom of The Year.

Of all the places for my daughter to try out her newfound obscenity, my parents' conservative Bible church was definitely NOT ideal.

And then it happened.

My friend snickered. I turned to look at her, aghast. The look of horror on my face was the last straw. She laughed out loud. She laughed so hard tears began to run down her face. She laughed so loud that my daughter and parents joined in. Even strangers began to laugh along. I couldn’t breathe I was laughing so hard.

I could end the story here, with you picturing a bunch of ladies in their floral cotton dresses and hair claws laughing in their husbands’ suited arms. With two exhausted momma’s leaning against the wall for support against the wild laughter of catharsis. With one beaming princess, sitting in her pile of ruffles and lace, laughing.

Laughter. It unified the divided. It healed the hurting. It banished judgment.

It doesn’t even matter that when she could talk again, my friend explained.

“She mispronounced “sit.” My son did that at first, too.”

And that is the beauty of this story. It’s not about why my daughter cursed, and more about the hidden levity of the moment.

(And, BTW, she is probably the only 16-year-old at her school who doesn’t curse today. I didn’t fail her as a momma. And yes, I am blatantly ignoring the fact that she is 16 and probably does curse occasionally (if not frequently.) But that is not the point. I did not fail her.)

People make mistakes. Toddlers inadvertently (or intentionally) curse. Children say inappropriate things. Adults have been known to do the same. Instead of responding with blame and shame, respond with joy.

As distasteful as cursing in the church was, it was also downright hilarious.

If you look at mistakes the right way, you will find that humor heals, unifies, and uplifts. Try it, and see what I mean.

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Anne Springer

Anne Springer

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I’m a speculative fiction and poetry writer, a curious soul who never grows tired of asking “Why” and “What if?” Look up AuthorAnneSpringer on Facebook!