Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mrs. Blair, Do You Cuss?

I'm always heartsick at the many sad lives of children that I encounter.  Sometimes it seems they are guided only by the negative in the world.  As much as we gripe about schools today, it is there that many children are exposed to something positive.  It might be the only place they find any good.

This conversation I share happened a few days ago. It was breakfast time at a junior high.  I was doing my usual get-to-know you stuff. I ask questions about how everyone is doing to stimulate some conversation.  I always try to see if I can remember every one's name.  And, I'm always promoting kindness and explaining how we should be good to each other.

7th Grader:  Hey, Mrs. Blair!  Do you cuss?

Me:  No.

7th Grader:  Never, ever?

Me:  Never, ever.

7th Grader:  Why not?

Me:  Because it isn't right.

7th Grader:  Do you cuss at your kids?

Me:  No.

7th Grader:  Even if they broke the television?

Me:  No!  I might not be happy about my television being broken, but I wouldn't cuss about it.

7th Grader:  Why don't you cuss at your kids?

Me.  I think cussing is wrong.  If I want to teach my children that it's wrong, then I need to set a good example. It's all about being respectful and kind.

7th Grader: (He looked at me with somewhat disbelief, shook his head and smiled.)

I found out later, from one of the para-educators I was working with, that they have a problem with this student cussing in class.  Interestingly, he never did it (at least around me) the three days I was there.

When I got home that day I told this story to my daughter, Cassie. She said, "That boy will remember that conversation forever." I hope so.

"Our speech reflects the kind of person we are, exposing our background and our way of life. It describes our thinking, as well as our inner feelings.
"Many times in our effort to refrain from improper speech, we find words to substitute. Sometimes they are so close to vulgar phrases everyone probably knows that we are substituting words and have not really improved our vocabulary."

"To anyone who has followed the practice of using profanity or vulgarity and would like to correct the habit, could I offer this suggestion? First, make the commitment to erase such words from your vocabulary. Next, if you slip and say a swear word or a substitute word, mentally reconstruct the sentence without the vulgarity or substitute word and repeat the new sentence aloud. Eventually you will develop a non-vulgar speech habit."