How do we reverse the trend of vulgarity in this country? I'm not a sociology major and so I'm not speaking as an expert on human behavior, but I don't have to be an expert to realize that vulgar language and vulgar behavior is becoming more acceptable in our society. I know I'm not alone when I say that this trend is not progress, but rather a step backwards for humanity.
I was raised by a gentleman who treated people with respect and rarely used foul language. My father would occasionally use the word "damn" if he hit his thumb with a hammer, but that was the extent of his swearing. So I wasn't exposed to vulgar language in my home.
When I started going to school there was a certain amount of dirty jokes and foul language, but nothing that would make it seem like the norm. I don't ever remember being around people in High School who felt the need to use four letter words as adjectives in every sentence. But now it's impossible to avoid such people. And it's not just the men, I've encountered several women who have the foulest mouths I've ever heard. And since I have children, these women don't last too long before I distance myself from them. The last thing I need is a woman who feels it is appropriate to drop the f-bomb around my kids.
Our children are exposed to so much more these days. A couple weeks ago I noticed that they were televising the movie "40 Year Old Virgin". I'm not trying to play the part of "holier than thou" because I've seen "40 Year Old Virgin" and I admit it was a very funny movie. But it is also the foulest, most vulgar movie I've ever seen and entirely inappropriate for children. In our home I use all the parental blocks available, so my kids would never have stumbled across that movie. But what could possibly be the reason for putting that movie on network television. Is it any wonder our children are growing up to be vulgar adults? What kind of behavior are we modeling by showing that movie? Children are so much more impressionable than adults. My daughter will watch a movie about a "Kung Fu Panda" and be running around the house practicing her Ninja moves.
I've heard the argument from people who say "It's nothing compared to what they will hear in school". But why is that? The kids in school are bringing that behavior from home! If vulgar language is unacceptable at home and not encouraged in the media, our children would not be modeling that behavior at school. If we really want to reverse this trend it needs to start in our homes.
The other day I was picking up my daughter from school and I became frustrated with the traffic in the parking lot. I voiced my frustration and let a four letter word slip. My daughter immediately caught me and scolded me. "Daaaad...you said the s-word!" I apologized...but I was also absolutely thrilled that she was shocked by my foul language. If we have more children who are shocked by foul language then the kids who use foul language will be in the minority. Eventually it will become less popular and nobody in school wants to be doing something unpopular.
I know I may sound like a prude old grandma or maybe even a bit hypocritical since I have done my fair share of swearing in my life. But it is certainly something to think about. Try and notice how vulgar language has become more acceptable. See if you think that is a good thing and then make your own decision. Personally I would much rather live in a world that does not accept such language as the norm. Let's leave that behavior in the locker room and create a more civilized environment for ourselves and our children.
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