Garbage Can Words

I always knew I would resurrect the “Garbage Can Words” lesson of my youth; I just didn’t dream that I would be the reason I would need to.

It all started when my son told my friend, “My mom says the D word every day. ” Unfortunately, that wasn’t an exaggeration. (In my defense, I just had a baby and something about pregnancy and birth and hormones brings out my potty mouth. With each new child; I have added another swear word to my arsenal. ) And then a few months ago my daughter commented, “Mom, every bad word I know I’ve learned from you.”

Well, the situation came to a head last week when Child A yelled at Child B  to “open the damn door!”  The “Garbage Can Words” lesson took the express to the top of the lesson priority list. I was on it the next Monday:

Here is a brief outline of our “Garbage Can Words” Family Night Lesson. (For a complete, printable FHE lesson outline, click here.)

Attention Getter: I held up a small garbage can and asked “What do I have here?” Then I asked “What goes in a garbage can?” We decided that trash, stuff that you don’t need any more, or anything that is outgrown or outdated, rotten, unnecessary, etc. goes in the garbage.

Objective: I segued by saying that there are words that belong in the garbage too. There have been some inappropriate words at our house lately, so tonight we are going to talk about some words that belong in the garbage can.

I labeled the garbage can with “Garbage Can Words”.

Lesson: We discussed what words were appropriate and inappropriate for our house.

Every family will be different. (The “F” word in my house growing up was “Fart”.)

Garbage can words don’t have to be just swear words. They can be any word that is crude, mean, insulting, degrading or discouraging like ‘stupid’, ‘idiot’, or ‘loser’. They could even just be energy zapping words like “can’t” or “no”.  This is for your family to decide.

Why: We read the Language section of “For the Strength of Youth” and we discussed what we read. I asked the kids why we don’t want certain words in our home. We had a variety of responses, but for me, the main reason is that we want the Spirit to be in our home so He can guide, comfort, protect and teach us. And if we are using ‘garbage can words’ than the Spirit won’t be in our home.

Activity: Once we had a good discussion on inappropriate words, I passed out a small piece of paper to each family member. They wrote down the garbage can word they wanted to give up.

Crew asked if he could give up the F word. I said, “If the F word is a problem for you then I would love for you to give it up.” Surely, he meant “Fart” right?  Then I looked at his little slip and he had written “funk”.  Oh, boy….

Besides Crew, we opted not to share the words that we wrote down.  Then we wadded up our words and threw them into the garbage can to be taken out with the trash.

(I would like to report that I have refrained from using the D word all week…at least outside my head.)

9 thoughts on “Garbage Can Words”

  1. I’m not judging, I’m smiling because now I know what kind of goes on behind closed doors of the Erickson household. And now I know you’re not as perfect as I thought you were. Thanks for making me feel better about myself today:)

  2. OOh, this is good. I don’t have this problem in my home, but it may very well come in handy in my classroom! They usually don’t cuss, but the part about words that are “crude, mean, insulting, degrading or discouraging like stupid, idiot, or loser” do come up! Thanks for the lesson plan! 🙂

    1. wouldn’t it be wonderful if mean words could be changed in schools so the children would not be bullies to one another… I hate the word “freakin” it makes me nuts.

  3. NO judgement here. I think I should start this now so my babies first word won’t be a “garbage word.” Great idea just great.

  4. Thanks for letting us learn through the “non-Christmas letter” side of your family. (we all have that side)
    Great FHE idea–we used it and had some great discussion!

  5. I LOVE this! I’ve found myself many times when I’ve slipped and their little wide eyes are looking back at me…I call them “mommy words”…Totally doesn’t make them right though…and I have tried to be better.

    I think our best example is one time when Jay was LITTLE (I think he was two!) and he came downstairs to put his shoes on and had left his socks upstairs. He announced, “Oh no! I forgot my damn socks.”. The context and inflection was even right. BIG reality check for us that he was taking it ALL in!

  6. So this is funny because the other day a kid at the park ran up and said, your kid just said the ‘F’ word!
    I dragged my son aside and asked him if he indeed said the ‘F’ word?! He said yes mom, I did, the kids were bugging me so I told them they were an ‘F Word’.
    He thinks the bad word is literally ‘F Word’…get it? I didn’t correct him. 😉

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