Why I Won't Curse in Front of My Kids
My freshman year of college, I roomed with a girl named Sarah whose bubbly personality filled the room with laughter, her quick wit and edgy sarcasm keeping us on our toes. We lived on the Honors Program floor, so each of us arrived to school with an impressive vocabulary and a willingness to use it. However, Sarah had one favorite word.
I had certainly heard the word before. In fact, I remember first hearing it at the Christian school I attended for kindergarten, but it is not a word that my friends and I used, and certainly not a word that was allowed on any occasion inside my home.
Sarah, however, found the word to be the most useful in the English language. To her it filled nearly every part of speech. A verb: Go f*#$ yourself. An adjective: That f#*$@*! professor is so full of himself! An adverb: Can’t you see that I’m f#*$&@! busy? A noun: What the f$^%? At first it was shocking to hear this forbidden word used so freely, especially coming from the mouth of a smiling young lady. It wasn’t long before I began to try it out for myself, my favorite use being as an interjection: F$&%@!
I adopted this fun new tool of expressing myself easily, perhaps because up until that point my favorite phrase was “son of a b$&%*” said as quickly and as bitterly as possible. In fact, I’m sure I began with the very laid back S and P words as a young child and had simply been waiting my whole life for someone to push me over the edge into the realm of the F-bomb.
Yet when I became a parent, all cursing in my home ceased. My husband who had willingly married a woman with the mouth of a drunken sailor adapted quickly to new exclamations such as “Oh pickles!” and “Gosh golly.” I’ve even recently taken to saying “Oh my gravy” as often as possible not only for my personal amusement over how ridiculous it sounds, but also because I have no worries about how it might sound coming out of my children’s mouths.
Even though I understand the blatant hypocrisy in doing all that I can to shelter my kids from the words I quietly let fly behind closed doors – or not so quietly depending on where my children are currently located – it doesn’t change the fact that I believe strongly in the importance of sheltering my children from the bad habits they will battle as adults.
There is nothing I can do to keep them from becoming that spouse who yells, “What the f$&% is wrong with the pizza guy?” when Dominos shows up thirty minutes late, but I can keep them from being the eight year old who shouts out the S word in the grocery store eliciting the glares of the other shoppers.
So I continue to happily shelter them from those gateway curses that may quickly lead them to become another Sarah, replacing all intelligent words with the F-bomb like some crazy live game of naughty Mad Libs. Once they’re out of my house, all bets are off. But for the time that I’ve got them at home with me, I have no intention of putting up with that S&$^. I mean, language.