The Daddy Test


Not long ago I was pulling weeds in my garden and overheard my six-year-old son use a crude word he had learned on the school playground. In the past I have threatened, scolded, and lectured when I have heard such words slip from my children, but that day I had a new idea.

I called my son over to talk with me. I asked him if he had ever heard Daddy say words like that. He shook his head no. I told my son that many people use inappropriate language, but Daddy sets an example for our family by never using those words. Even at his work, where such language is common, most people have learned that Daddy doesn’t like foul language, and they use only polite words around him.

Together, my young son and I came up with a new family strategy. We call it the “Daddy test.” If there is any question about the propriety of a word, we just think about whether Daddy would use the word, and then we act accordingly.

Since that day in the garden, we have employed the Daddy test frequently in our home. It is now a rare occasion to hear an inappropriate word slip out. How grateful I am for a husband who sets the standard for the Daddy test!

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth Whittaker