We have all heard it, the age old saying, ‘Hate is an ugly word.’ I had never taken much thought to the adage before though, because I too have been guilty of using the word.
The little humans have been bugging me all morning to bring them to the park and by noon I give in. I tell them I will go and have a quick shower (yes, I’m a stay-at-home mom and sometimes I don’t shower until noon), make some lunch and then we will go.
After exiting my five-minute heavenly shower I find that Sophie has readied herself for our outing by coloring her entire body head to toe in pink and purple magic marker. She is now running around the house yelling some sort of gibberish about being a colorful marker princess.
To Lars’ dismay I run a bath for the girl, putting our park play off a bit longer once again.
It has now been thirty minutes and Sophie’s bath water is ice cold, but she still splashes in it gaily.
“Mom lets go to the park!” Lars’ patience has worn thin and he is now chomping at the bit to hit the road.
“Yes Lars we will go, but I have to get Sophie out of the tub and get her ready, so we will be a bit yet.”
“I want to go now! I hate you Mama.”
As the words cross my five-year-old’s lips I cringe outwardly and explain why that term is unacceptable one to use in our home.
My plea is not heard though over the incessant blaring that now is coming from the bathroom.
I turn my back to Lars and move towards Sophie, who has heard her brothers fit, and in a copycat manner has joined in on his obsession with the word ‘hate’.
I get to the bathroom and the entire floor is covered in water, Sophie looks up to me with a smile and in the sweetest voice one could ever imagine says, “I hate you Mama.”
“Do you even know what that means Sophie!? It hurts Mama’s feelings, and we will not be going to the park if you two keep saying this.”
“It okay- I hate park, I hate swing, I hate Yary (Larsy), I hate Daddy, I hate bathtub….” I hate, I hate, I hate, I hate!
It goes on like this while I yank the girl out of the tub, and pick out a shirt that she obviously hates. Right through lunch and into the afternoon’s activities I am hearing the word buzz through my mind. I am ready tell the both of them that I hate how they are acting, but I stop myself because that would only fuel the fire.
I would love to tell you that I have resolved the issue and once again all is well in the Brown household.
Unfortunately this is not so, I continue to get the word hurled at me every couple of days.
I have made it clear to the adults in the kids’ life to try not to use this specific language while around my parrots, and for the most part they oblige. It hasn’t helped, so my censorship has been in vain.
I’m still not sure what it is about the word that hits my ear in just the wrong place.
There are plenty of other words out there that I am sure my kids have or soon will be indulging in, not that I will be all too happy about that either; it is just this word, which boils my blood to no end.
I think that the root of this problem is not with the word itself, but what it holds.
I worry that they will grow to be adults who quickly jump to hatred instead of learning all sides of a story.
The individuals who are too lazy or self-involved to delve deeper into real issues, but find that blindly hating can diminish all sorts of problems. I am concerned because hatred can connect with prejudice, and prejudice leads to all kinds of trouble. I worry because the other bad words of life are just that, words….But hate is a feeling, and can easily become a way of life.
And I never want my children to live that type of existence.
But right now, to these two small people, it is only a word.
A word that has a vague connotation with anger. I will never be able to know what is in store for the future, but I do hope that with love and perseverance we will be able to teach these babes that life will hold much more promise without hate guiding their way.
For hate truly is one of the ugliest words out there.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.