I might sound a little old and a bit crusty but, “what has gotten into kids today?”
So, I was walking home from my more spinning class. It was around 10:15 in the morning and as I was walking past the local elementary school, the same school where I sent both of my daughters. Outdoor recess was in full swing.
I remember those recesses as a kid. No matter the weather, our teachers would insist we either bundle up or wear a hat and go outside and get some fresh air. The playground, for me, was an intimating place. Not overly athletic, my so-called friends would goad me into doing things on the jungle-jim that I knew I couldn’t do and in doing so, would make fun of me. See…we all have our nasty memories of childhood…but that is a whole separate story.
This particular morning, I was in earshot of some of the boys who were hanging out near the fence that barricades the school yard from “the outside”. A bunch of boys were huddled together, yelling at each other..not because they were mad but because thats what young kids do to be heard amongst their friends. From what I could see, these boys were probably in grade 4 or grade 5.
While it was hard to hear exactly what they were talking about, it was really easy to hear the expletives that peppered the conversation. Not the occasional f-bomb…but more like every second word was “f**k that” and “eat s**t, you motherf**ker”. There were other words and expressions used that, while I have heard them before, I don’t think is necessary to repeat in this blog because by now, you get the point.
Not that I was a perfect child and not that I ever swore, but clearly far too many years have gone by for me to remember how much we swore at each other in the playground at this age.
The question always is, “where do these kids pick up such language from?” More importantly, is it acceptable and have we become so accustomed to expletives everywhere we turn these days that we have become desensitized to their use?
I remember when my two daughters began periodically using these words in sentences at home with my wife and I. I must admit that hearing a little 5 or 6 year old girl utter one of these words is absolutely adorable. Their sweet little innocent voice uttering a swear word is really cute…the first few times. I remember my youngest daughter stubbed her toe and actually swore as the pain of the injury washed over her. While it kind of took me aback when she first said it, mostly because she used it in proper context, I was then shocked by the fact that my little sweet and angelic child knew of such a word in the first place.
A comedian once said that fellow comedians who swear too much do not have a strong command of the english language and have to default to using expletives to help them communicate more effectively. In other words, its easy to say, “f**k” or “s**t” instead of other less profane words to get the point across.
Do I swear? Yes…of course I do. Do I sometimes use this kind of language around my kids? Regretably, yes I do. However, I do not go out of my way to swear in front of them and I limit my repertoire to only a few words. Do I swear when some doofus cuts me off while driving? Yes…I do and yes, my kids are sometimes in the car listening to me.
I know people who don’t think swearing in front of their kids is a big deal. They figure they are going to hear these words in the school yard…so why not incorporate them into the dialog at home?
Do you agree with this? I don’t. My reasons go back to the comedian who made the comment about using these words as a default for when they cannot express themselves in any other way.
Are we becoming dumb or lazy in the way we communicate with each other or the way we use language? Perhaps. Maybe reducing the amount of times I swear will be my one New Year’s Resolution for 2014.