By Js Kendrick
Do you say bad words? I do. I do my best not to let those words fly in improper places, but on occasion it happens.
On my local news feed was a NBC story (A Today Story) about a woman who thinks it is fine to curse around her children. And you know the internet loves a good story. So guess what was trending? Some 67% of all respondents to the Today article believe you shouldn’t curse in front of children.
But it got me thinking. Cursing is called ‘Bad Words’ in my household. Bad words are a little paradoxical to me. A majority of my bad words wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow of the local pastor. I of course use euphemisms. Honestly I use really bland euphemisms.
That doesn’t fly with my youngest two children. Alexis and her younger brother Nick, don’t let me get away with it.
“Bad word Daddy.” I will hear Alexis say chiding me.
“Seriously? Flipping is bad?” I ask puzzled.
“Yes.” Nick will say in agreement.
I guess I shouldn’t be upset, they’re actually agreeing for once. Yet ‘flipping’ is my harshest euphemism. Dumb, Stupid, Idiotic…they weren’t too sure on that last one, but they caught the inference. Those words get me into far more trouble. They of course, understand the meaning behind them, however context still eludes them.
Cursing, even euphemisms, at children is never acceptable. Even the mother who thinks that cursing in front of children is okay agrees with that point. Most adults do not react well to being cursed at, especially if they are driving down the road weaving all over the place as they text and you are just trying to remind them they only get one lane at a time.
“Curse words are used by people of lower intelligence, because they can’t articulate properly” – My Father.
That is how I grew up. My father was from the Greatest Generation (you know those guys from Saving Private Ryan and Pearl Harbor?). He was very stern about cussing. We weren’t allowed, and if we did, well we got a lecture. But my brother asked me a question not too long ago.
“Hey did you ever go to work with dad?” He asked. “Did you hear his mouth?!” leaning forward for emphasis. I smiled at this memory.
“Yeah, I went to work with him when I was 12, that was interesting, I think I learned more curse words that day that I ever knew existed!” I said to my brother. We both died laughing.
Yet it was the truth. The man who told us that cussing showed that you had a lower intelligence, could make a sailor grab his dictionary of ‘Curse Words and Other Sailor Profanities’ and flip through it quickly to keep up with him. Only at work. I never heard him curse at home. Basically, my father was a hypocrite when it came to cussing.
[Editors note: United States Navy personnel do not have such a book.]
Cursing for me was always tricky. For years I worked in an industry that profanity wouldn’t go over well, we typically had customers come through our shop, so cussing at my work project usually went over poorly. Customers frowned upon that sort of thing. Especially if it was their project you happened to be working on.
Now I work in the trucking industry. Basically truckers own the rights to ‘Curse Words and Other Sailor Profanities’. It’s almost a second language to us. Coming home from work I have to shift gears, on occasion I miss a gear. (Trucking Joke there).
[Editors note: Truck Drivers do have such a book.] (okay, no we don’t.)
I do my best, but on occasion a bad word slips out. Usually it involves pain, fast, unexpected pain. And I get the look.
“Daddy you said a bad word.” I am told.
“Yeah sorry, but I just cut off my leg with this axe.” I say in my defense.
“Still a bad word, Mommy! Daddy’s bleeding on the floor, can you get a band-aid?” I hear.
[Editors note: That didn’t happen.]
But you get the point, bad words are not allowed in my house. Except when their older sisters come over. My little ones say nothing as their older sister engage in foul language. I tap it down when it gets a little out of hand. Yet there are the looks, then I hear about it after their big sisters leave.
Oddly enough, well I guess so far, I have not heard little repeaters. Alexis and Nick will overhear those words, yet never repeat. Actually the answer to cursing at home or not to curse at home has little to do with the words. It has to do with how you accept and deal with the words. It comes down to your own households moral compass. Even if they are said, and you let it be know it is improper, kids will pick up on that. If you find it totally acceptable well…you’re going to hear it. That doesn’t mean it’s never going to happen. Trust me on this, your child will curse at one point. You may or may not hear it, but it will happen.
As for the article and the trend du jour I have the answer that my brother always uses. They aren’t my children. I have my own to worry about. While the internet and social media debate this topic, I have to deal with the word ‘Poop’.
[Editors note: Poop for some reason is not considered a Bad Word in my house, it’s just too flipping silly.]
For those interested, here is the original Today article.