Conversation between my teenager, my husband and me:
Abby: You didn’t save me any chicken last night.
Me: What? What was last night?
Abby: I had dance ’til really late. I came home and the chicken was gone. You didn’t save me any.
Me: Huh. That’s weird.
Abby: It’s not weird, Mom. It’s mean.
Me: Well, I’m not sure I’d say it’s mean. That might be a tiny exaggeration, right? Mean implies intent, and I certainly didn’t intend to not save you any chicken.
Abby: Seriously? You fed all your other children food. Just not me. Unkind.
Me: Hey, Greg. Did you know we didn’t save Abby any chicken last night?
Greg: What was last night?
Me: Dance. Abby was out late. We didn’t save food.
Greg: We didn’t?
Me: That’s the way I heard it.
Greg: Huh. I guess we forgot about her.
Me: EXACTLY. That’s what I thought, too. SEE, ABBY? We’re not being mean. We’re being thoughtless and neglectful.
And this is why vocabulary matters, folks. Language is a precision instrument; we must teach our children to use it correctly.
Can I get an amen?
Abby totally agrees.