Judge John Hodgman on Introducing Your Children to Swearing

Steven writes: My daughter, Belle, doesn’t like that I update the page-a-day calendar in the morning. She thinks it should be done before bed. It’s the Effin’ Birds calendar, which features beautiful drawings of birds saying obscene insults.

I’m not here to judge your parenting. I let my kids grow up around Kenny Shopsin, the very foulmouthed (and wise) proprietor of Shopsin’s General Store. Swearing is part of life, I realized. They might as well learn from the best. I trust you’re offering Belle coaching regarding context and restraint to go with this dirty bird calendar. But she’s still wrong. You tear off a page-a-day calendar in the morning. That’s when we adults need the liberating charge of profanity … a chickadee announcing (correctly), “This sucks and I hate it.” If Belle doesn’t understand this, let her get her own effin’ calendar.

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