Sunday, August 31, 2008

Swear Words and the Power of the Media

Yesterday I was lounging around reading a book (hey, it's a holiday weekend, for crying out loud, I'm allowed to do that!), when suddenly my daughter comes rushing to me with panic in her eyes. She then yells at me at close proximity that her younger brother had said a bad word. I asked which one and she said, "Dad, he said, 'Oh my gee oh dee'!" Oh, really?

In our house, we choose not to say that, preferring to treat the name of our Heavenly Father, any of His names, sacred. I yelled into the other room that he shouldn't say that ('cause, you know, I was reading, and I wasn't going to get up without seeing some blood or something ...). You know what he told me? "They say 'Oh my God' in the movie!" Great. I knew exactly which one, too -- the uber-lame "Lenny the Wonder Dog".

Just as I had lamented the other day, bad influences come steady and strong, despite our best efforts.

"Do you ever hear me or mommy saying that?" I asked him.

"No," he said.

"Then you shouldn't say that."

"Okay, Dad!" And he didn't. For a three-year-old, he's remarkably obedient.

We really want to teach our kids to be polite and well-mannered, and the avoidance of swear words helps greatly in that regards. My wife and I really never do swear, ever. Those words just aren't in our vocabulary. Unfortunately, there are plenty of non-swearing expressions (the "that bites" and the "that sucks") or swear-word substitutes (the "goshes" and the "darns") that aren't so great, either, that we do use on a regular basis. Oh, well, we've drawn the line on what's okay and what's not, and at least those, to us, are acceptable, even if we would that they didn't say them, either.


Melissa said...

What about "crap"? I get in trouble when I say that because Jacob considers it to be a swear word. We have had to help Julianna not to take the Lord's name in vain. She hears it everywhere. Now she has to say "Oh my goodness" because "Oh my gosh" is too close and it's too easy for her to slip.

Megan said...

I get in trouble for "crap" too - I feel so bad when my kids say it, cuz I KNOW I say that one all the time. My kids are young, but once they are in school, they learn quick. Media helps too - on a TMNT cartoon they say "What the Shell?" I've been thinking abt that one lately.

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