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.
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