I Will Try To Teach My Son Not To Say Stupid Things

2 years.

Dear Jack,

On Thanksgiving day, Mommy and I were pulling you around the neighborhood for an afternoon wagon ride, per your request.

We pulled around the corner to find two new grandpas getting out of their trucks, so proud to go inside and see their 8-day-old grandson. The two of them had traveled from out of town to see him.

“Oh, 8 days old? That’s the day he would be circumcised according to Jewish tradition. But I guess he was probably circumcised after just a couple of days while he was still in the hospital, right?”

It didn’t end there. I went on about your circumcision and probably how I don’t remember my own.

Then, finally, I shut up.

I reminded myself to just let those two new grandpas glory in their new grandson.

All I had to do was just smile and say some encouraging comment like, “Just imagine, in two years, you’ll be pulling your grandson around the neighborhood in a Radio Flyer wagon.”

Normally, I wouldn’t have had circumcision on my brain. But I had just finished a book called The Circumcision Decision. And evidently, my filter wasn’t working.

I’m referring to the John Mayer song, “My Stupid Mouth,” where he says, “How could I forget? Mama said, ‘Think before speaking.’ No filter in my head, oh what’s a boy to to do? I guess I’d better find one soon.”

Honestly, it had been a while since I had said something that stupid, making things so awkward that the only way to salvage the situation was to politely walk away and say, “Have a nice day.”

Son, I spent the majority of my childhood saying dumb things out loud, which I instantly regretted. I remember in 5th grade setting a goal of trying to make it one whole year without saying something awkward and embarrassing myself.

Didn’t make it a week.

So much of being successful and influential in life is being able to know what to say to people, but even more important is knowing when just to say nothing at all.

As you grow up, I will be here to help direct you on this. I want you to naturally say less stupid things than I did when I was a kid. I want you to learn from my mistakes.

It’s my wish for you that you won’t be able to relate to John Mayer’s song as much as I do.





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  1. by Charlie Hendricks

    On March 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    We’ve been working hard with our two sons to not use the word stupid and also not to do stupid things. It’s hard but my husband and I are working at it.