I curse like a sailor. No, not quite true. In my HEAD I curse like a sailor, and occasionally, around a select few friends I will let the f-bombs fly with heady abandon. Around my kids I would like to think I am more restrained. Yeah. I’d like to think that. Then I remember the swearing jar my then 5 year old daughter insisted I pay into…frequently. She ran a tight ship. “MOMMY!!! That one was 5 dollars!!” she’d say, hands on her hips and a stern look on her little face.
When my kids were younger and would use strong language (I don’t know WHERE she picked that up!), I would caution them that those are power words; use them too often and they lose their power. That worked, for a while. I strongly believe that upon stubbing your toe, nothing makes you feel better than a loudly hollered “DAMMIT!!”
Now, they’re all teenagers. I have a reasonable tolerance for moderate cussing, but I have never before lived with a boy who learned to curse on X-box live. Words I have only ever THOUGHT (with my eyes closed tight and my heart racing) drop out of his mouth like nothing, rapid fire, casually and without context or meaning. These aren’t power words… these are facial flatulence, and I’m tired of hearing them.
You could say it’s my fault, and you may be right. If you are lazy about swearing or have a potty mouth yourself on occasion, I guess you reap what you sow.
But there’s something new in this internet age, something so careless in our kids. Here they are, more open than ever to all kinds of exposures and influence and they are almost inured, immune to what shocks the living daylight out of me.
I guess that would be me too if my earliest exposure to “porn” hadn’t been a well worn copy of Judy Blume’s Forever , passed from girl to girl in my grade 6 class (falling open to the good parts of course). Words my parents never spoke in front of the children are all over the TV (and not bleeped like when I was a kid). If I were a teenager now, I could accidentally trip over hard core porn searching for Christmas craft ideas online, or by following the friendly comment on my instagram feed. Swearing is… well, so ordinary. No big deal.
I know my kids are smart. I know they’ve read books, traveled, been exposed to big ideas and thoughts but they still curse like fishwives. To me, it’s a sign of a really weak imagination…a small vocabulary.
Having said that, you can be sure I’ll have a purple glow around me the next time I crack my knee into the computer desk. Is it hopeless? I sure as #X@!** hope not.