UNITED STATES—When was the last time you asked yourself, “Hey, did I think about that before the words blurted out of my mouth?” First off, this is not a piece about censorship or freedom of speech. The goal is to examine precisely where Americans stand when it comes to thinking about their words before just letting the masses consume them.

We unfortunately live in a world where speaking the truth or being honest about your opinion can place you in a difficult spot. My concern is more so with the factoid that sometimes speaking the harsh truth allows terminology to be picked up by those you least expected: children. Children are like little sponges at very young ages. They imitate what they see. They repeat what they hear and they behave based on their surroundings. I used to think adults had no filter, but in recent weeks I have come to discover nope, its children who have no filter.

What is sad about this realization is the fact that you sometimes can’t help, but erupt in laughter when something unexpected comes from the mouth of a child. So what is one to do? Well for starters, I think it’s okay to laugh, but make sure the child is aware that pouty language is a big no, no. If you give the child the impression that what they did was ok, it becomes interjected into their brain that all is ok.

So why am I in major hoopla over ensuring that children understand the importance of filtering their terminology? Well, my niece. She is a very precocious one. I mean the fact that she can carry an actual conversation with an adult at the tender age of three screams wonders in my opinion. She recently went on a road trip where she blew a few relatives minds with her level of intelligence at such a tender age.

She has a little bit of sass, but at the same time, she picks up on terminology that so many others use day in and day out. If you say a big world there is a pretty good chance it’s something that will become a part of her vocabulary. I mean how often to you see a 3-year-old remember states. Yes, that’s what I said states. She knows her home state Michigan, but now has a keen knowledge of North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia. Yeah, go figure.

She left many of us reeling when she blurted out that my aunt’s breath was not appealing to say the least, well she bluntly told her that her breath stinks. Was it wrong to burst out in laughter? Absolutely, but what else was I supposed to do. Never in 10 years did I expect her to say something to that degree. It was right out of left field, but then I thought about it: she had to hear it from somewhere. I have to be careful what I say around my niece because she picks up things so easily and does it without things seeming obvious.

This is a child that will do her best to divert a conversation to ensure the focus is taken off of her. She is indeed smart, but the adults around her have to be that much smarter. I think we fail to realize that just because we’re older doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop every so often and question our motives and the things that we do. Having no filter can pass your bad behavior onto someone else and just like magic the cycle begins all over again.