Tell Your Kids Not To Be Stupid

I've never called any of my children fools.

But I have often told them not to be foolish. I have told them not to be stupid. I often say "that was stupid" or "don't be dumb".

This scandalized wifey at first, and has scandalized others, but I think it's a good 'n' godly parenting move (or I wouldn't be doing it). I urge you to consider using the word "stupid" in dealing with your kids, and will here explain why.

Stupidity is a moral fault. Stupid is defined in the dictionary as being obtuse, given to unintelligent decisions or acts, acting unintelligently or carelessly, dulled, unreasoned. To be stupid is not necessarily to be unintelligent; it is to be given to acting unintelligently. Although it can be used to mean simple or slow-witted, a person who is stupid is not not so much an idiot as a fool.

And the Bible teaches us about fools. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Etcetera and etcetera.

Stupidity and foolishness are grave and dangerous things. And although I often do foolish things (oh, how often!), I hope not to be a fool, pray God. It would grieve me to have to, in my old age, admit that my sons and daughters were fools.
A Krazy Kart Kid. That's a real thing.

Because it's such a big deal, because foolishness will take us far from God, I try to teach my children to hate it. And that means that I need to show hatred of it in them, while still and always showing love. I can't pretend it's not there in order to appear to be loving them; I want to actually love them by calling sin sin.

Doing something half-assed, doing something careless, not thinking, not paying attention, doing something for no good reason, these are sins. Keep us from them, Lord.

There is something of a knife's edge to walk here for the parent, however. There is a jolly sort of folly, the sort of divine wisdom that is willing to look like foolishness to the world. The danger is to take ourselves too seriously, to fall by the force of gravity. G. K. Chesterton found jolly folly in marriage.
“An obvious instance is that of ordinary and happy marriage. A man and a woman cannot live together without having against each other a kind of everlasting joke. Each has discovered that the other is a fool, but a great fool. This largeness, this grossness and gorgeousness of folly is the thing which we all find about those with whom we are in intimate contact; and it is the one enduring basis of affection, and even of respect.”
We ought not to think too highly of ourselves, but we ought to love true wisdom and despise true folly, in ourselves and in our children. We cannot take that responsibility lightly.