Friday, August 27, 2010

Would I Get Locked Up for (Gently) Washing Someone Else’s Kid’s Mouth Out with Soap?

I just overheard a[nother] little boy say “fuck” – and he really said it like it was nothing. “What the fuck am I supposed to do about it?” he loudly wondered. I couldn’t make out most of his companion’s response, but it included a couple of his own contributions to the cursing. They looked to be about 8 or 9 years old. I think I was still regularly tuning into Sesame Street when I was 8 and 9 (that is, when my grandmother and I weren’t at the edges of our seats, watching Days of Our Lives).

Swearing children depress me – I’ve heard too much out of them. They seem to parade themselves in front of me wherever I go. I love to swear too, almost as much as I like to eat, drink, and go hiking. But I’m old, worldly, and unlucky enough to have faced irritations and monstrosities that are really worth swearing about. It’s a little chilling to keep coming across elementary-school-aged kids who act as if they’re in the same leaky, dollar-store boat as I am.

Although I’ve more than made up for it now, I didn’t even take up swearing until the very end of high school; and even then, I kept my bad words underground. In 5th grade, I heard my math teacher tell a classmate’s mother that she needed to get her son to stop using the “F-word.” I didn’t know what she meant. Since she was such a stern woman, for years afterward, I thought the “F-word” was “fun.”

I don’t want my future kids swearing while they’re still kids. I’ve seen what kinds of adults child-cursers can grow into, and they suck. To the full extent possible, my munchkins will be shielded from the sound and sight of foul language during their K-12 periods. The world has officially gone to shit (I mean, to a terrible place) when the K-12 period isn’t treated as something sacred.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Kadzi,
    I'm an official follower. I've been enjoying your blog since Meredith told me you had written about Aunt Alice. Amen to the entry about profanity! The world has definitely shifted. Time was that men having a profanity-laced conversation would desist when a woman came within earshot, and also apologize for anything that may have been overheard, but no more. When I was teaching high school age kids, my response to the F word was "At what point are you going to wean yourself away from the F word? Will you be able to let it go by the time you have children of your own? Because I doubt that you want it to be your child's first word!" I think the idea of it would actually give them pause, at least for a little while. I agree that there isn't much sadder than to hear such jaded language coming out of a "sweet" little mouth...