A conversation yesterday at the dojo where my better half and the younger Free-Ride offspring do aikido:
Younger offspring: I think [Dr. Free-Ride's better half] needs to man up and start coming to aikido regularly again.
Dr. Free-Ride: I get what you're saying, but when you say "man up", what are you suggesting about women?
Younger offspring: Oh, I didn't think about that.
Dr. Free-Ride: Because the quality you want [Dr. Free-Ride's better half] to summon isn't something only men have, right?
Younger offspring: No, women have it too. I didn't mean men were better.
Dr. Free-Ride: I know that. But sometimes our words seem to say things we don't mean them to mean.
Younger offspring: I could say "toughen up" instead, 'cause that's what I mean.
Dr. Free-Ride: That would totally work.
I'm especially happy that it took all of five minutes for the younger offspring, aged 10, to get the distinction between what she meant to say and what the words themselves might communicate -- and that she was able to have this discussion without feeling attacked or turning it into an exchange focused on the innocence of her intent.
To me, this feels like significant progress towards maturity.