Words have power. It doesn’t take long for a woman to realize that. Words like fat, ugly or even nag, can change our moods rather quickly. But what words can a woman hear to make her move immediately into a Homeland Security red alert mode and take action? Are there words that can make us gals do things that we would never in a million years think of doing? Even being called fat won’t make me get up and put on my exercise bra and walk on a treadmill.
To be quite honest, I can’t think of any word that would motivate me to take action. Maybe because I am forty years old, there are no words that have the power to make me do things I don’t want to do. Words like this don’t exist for a forty year old mother of four, but…
these words do exist for seven year olds.
My son Samuel experienced the power of these words this week.
While on recess his first grade buddy Jordan said the words that moved my angelic son into action. “Samuel, I dare you…” You would have thought my son was a robot, he immediately engaged and headed out to accomplish what Jordan had dared him to do. “Samuel, I dare you to push Grace’s face into the water fountain when she goes to take a drink.” Like a mindless zombie, Samuel followed through with his order, mission accomplished.
When Samuel came home and walked through the front door, I knew immediately that he had gotten into trouble at school. His father and I happened to be sitting and talking when he walked in, poor kid never had a chance…
Samuel: His lip quivering before he even reached us…
Me: “You turned a card today in class didn’t you?” (Us moms’ always know, don’t we?)
Samuel: Backpack and jacket still on, note from teacher in hand, he slowly nodded, “Yes.”
Dad: “Why did you pull a card Samuel? What did you do?”
Samuel: Lip still quivering, trying hard not to cry, he immediately went guns blazing, into his defense. He spoke as fast as that little boy from the Christmas Story movie did, when he asks Santa for his Red Ryder BB gun. “Dad, Jordan dared me to push Grace’s face into the water fountain while she was taking a drink. I didn’t want to Dad, I really didn’t, but he dared me Dad…”
Dad: Interrupting Samuel mid sentence, Paul asked him, “Samuel, what have I told you that a dare means?”
Samuel: Sighing, our youngest child looked down and recited back to his father the definition that he knew by heart, “You told me that a dare means, “Am I dumb enough to do it?” His head quickly jerked back up to begin his defense again, “But Dad, Jordan didn’t just dare me, he fireball dared me, and you can’t go back on a fireball dare!”
Dad: “Oh, I see son…it was a fireball dare…” He feigned understanding, then shot back, “Samuel, whether it’s a dare, a double dog dare or a fireball dare, you don’t do it.” He went on, “Dares’ have no power son, they are just words.”
I almost interrupted, “Try telling that to the little girl with the wet face!”
I thought I’d better just keep my mouth shut this time and let Paul handle this one. My husband set down some harsh consequences for our seven year old. Our sweet little robot-zombie boy is without video games for ten days. On top of that, he had to write the little girl a letter of apology and give it to her when he went to school the next day. You would have thought his father had asked him to eat dirt, Samuel did not want to do this at all.
I guess we should have fireball dared him.