Excuse me?!? (And now I’m thinking, “OH Shit, it begins”)
I suppose I should watch my language around my son, but why? Why do we expect kids to be different then us? Are we just trying to correct our own faults through our babies like some slob mother who imposes her dream of pageantry on her baby by parading her on makeshift stages at the mall dressed like a sailor’s dock whore?
…we know the context. It’s not so much the actual words that are the problem. I propose that the heart of the issue is how we use our words. Take the following two examples for consideration. Think about what is truly more offensive.
Scenario #1: You are sitting on your porch, which happens to be in front of a bus stop. A 7-year-old child is running at top speed to catch his bus, which pulls away at the last second, and the child exclaims, “Shit! I’m going to miss my math exam!”
Scenario #2: You are sitting on your porch. Another 7-year-old gets off the bus, litters in front of your house, and when you confront him, he says, “Pick it up yourself, bitch!”
Now, bitch is barely even a curse, right? Female dog and all. But, it’s clearly more offensive because of the context. While on the other hand “Shit” is still not allowed to be spoken on TV even though it’s just another way to express the word “feces.” We can say “Sugar” or “Shamrock” or “Snot” but not “Shit” because that’s the word that will corrupt our precious youth. (I know what you are thinking right now, “This son-of-a-bitch knows his shit!)
It’s not what we say, but how we say it. Isn’t that the mantra that we tell ourselves when our kids are just little babies? Then why do we forget that so fast when they get a little older? We are so overly concerned about the words our kids use, but we allow them to see us fight hurtfully with each other. We tell them to not use certain words, but neglect the instruction of being polite to all people, strangers included. Worst of all, we tell them to do what we say, but not as we do, and then we are surprised when they don’t live up to that standard.
Personally, I don’t really mind if my son uses some off-color words, as long as the swears are not used as a sword against others. I may utter “God Damn It” every once in a while over spilled Cheerios too, but it is never directed at a slow waitress or in disrespect to another person.
If we focused more on the context of our actions, we could stop pretending that words corrupt our children, and recognize that true corruption is more likely to be achieved with a toddler in a tiara.
(This post is dedicated to my guru who still inspires me to this day, George Carlin…and in case you don’t speak Bulgarian, “lick gypsy sperm you shithead”).