* * * * Re-blogging this relatively ancient post on another of our “weirder” but incredibly effective and far-reaching parenting ideas, because after several years of this practice, I am now more convinced than ever that we have done our girls an amazing service by this simple twist of terminology. At 12, 9, and 6 — they don’t see “evil” they see still the human behind the actions, even if the actions are awfully “confusing”. * * * *
In our home we don’t refer to anyone as “evil”. For us, it is virtually the same thing as referring to someone by a racial slur, or other non-specific derogatory appellation. Natalie and I made this choice on a heart-felt whim — meaning we had not yet realized what we were up against — and have spent the last several years continuing to swim upstream.
There is not yet any evidence out there of which I am aware that unequivocally proves this idea, but I am personally convinced that it is the power of words that has directed the largest portion of human interactions since the advent of language. For instance, with words like “evil”, and many others of equally demeaning value, humans have historically given themselves license for some of the most atrocious behavior known. If someone is “evil” — well, you can pretty much do whatever you want…
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