I’m not going to act all saintly and state that I never use bad words or even that I don’t use bad words around my kids (at home), because I do. I just try not to use them very often. In our house there are swear words and bad words. All swear words are bad words but not all bad words are swear words.
We also categorize bad words differently than most people. I don’t remember my mom doing this, but somewhere along the line I picked it up. More words fall into the bad word category for us than for most others.
Yesterday, walking home from picking up L’s prescriptions (we were at the hospital Wed night/Thurs morning), we were passed by a group of guys (who, I am ashamed to say, were all approximately my age) having a loud, utterly undecipherable conversation. I may have heard one or two words out of ten that did NOT fall into the bad words category (a, the, and). This prompted a vocabulary conversation for the way home.
Apparently this mess of conversation made sense to the guys walking because at one point (while I was TRYING to have a conversation with the 7 & 9 year olds who were with me) one of the guys commented that “the f*****g broad over on the g*****n other side of the f*****g street must think our convo is the s*******t, most g*****n f*****g funny thing ever.” Well, I have to give that guy a point for observation anyways, I was kinda smirking and the smirk was related to their “discussion”. I was actually smirking at what my boys were saying about these guys.
T: “Mom, they should know that yelling the same five or six word over and over makes them sound stupid right?” Me: “T! Use proper words!”
L: “That’s right T! It makes them sound unedgmercated.”
Me: “Good word choice L! Where did you hear uned-U-cated?”
L: “Eh, around. I hear a lot of words.” (This is his standard answer to that question.)
This led to a full blown conversation as to what bad words are, what can be said differently and why we don’t use bad words. In our family, bad words are words that insult/hurt the feelings of others, are swear words, are too general to convey meaning, or prevent us from using good words. EVERYTHING can be said using good words, but it is sometimes okay to use a word that would be classified normally as a bad word if it is used properly.
The most difficult part of this is discerning what good words are, especially when describing something. An example of this would be “suck(s)”. I really have a “thing” against that word, it just really bothers me to hear them say it. “Why do we have to have peas with supper? Peas suck.” (As s/he takes another bite and even though they were begging for them last time we went to the store.) I am lucky with this though because my kids have easily picked up where “acceptable” words become bad words. Words like little, big, okay, hate, good, a lot, not much, etc are used very rarely and, when they are used, have a context or qualifier to accompany them to better describe what they are trying to convey.
I hear a lot of bad words every day. I don’t hear many of them at home. I hope that my bad words talks with the kids help them to realize that what they are trying to say can be more easily accomplished if they use good, strong, specific and descriptive words. It’s either that, or they have learned to use bad words quietly enough that I can’t hear them from the next room.
That’s what a vacuum cleaner does. Can you clean that mess over there?
Hay is for horses, but cows eat it too!
Ten years from now, I hope that my kids don’t give anyone any reason to think they sound unedgmercated.
No matter how dark the day, the sun is always shining somewhere!