Nature knows no indecencies; man invents them. ~Mark Twain, Notebook, 1935
Yes, that is my son, Orion giving the finger to the camera. Why? He thinks it is funny and he has the freedom to do so! What does this image bring up in you? Does he look like an evil, bad kid? Kind of. This is because you were conditioned to feel this way.
The truth is, my kids swear, and they are very loving, kind people who have the freedoms that most children do not. Orion is being silly, not disrespectful in this photo, but the image feels differently to those of us who were raised thinking that giving the finger is "bad".
I admit, Joe and I swear. Not compulsively or anything. We just choose words that our culture labels as bad or sinful and use them as adjectives, nouns and verbs every once in a while.
I do not choose to live by the ole', "Do as I say, not as I do." mentality. I find it disturbing and disrespectful. Instead, I know that if I choose to swear my kids will too. I take full responsiblity for this fact. My kids have the freedom to swear, as I do.
It's interesting to note that we do talk about swearing and how it
offends a lot of people. Before new friends come over Devin and Tiff always ask me if it is okay to swear around them. Some families have kids who also have this freedom and some do not. We share openly about it and the kids always respect it. Sometimes a swear will come out and there will be a kind of "Ooops" look on my kids face if they forget around certain people. It doesn't happen often though.
It seems so hypocritical to punish a child for swearing if you do it yourself. They are only words and shouldn't we all have the freedom to choose what we say? Isn't it a basic human right? Why is it a double standard for children? More and more parents are relaxing around the issue of children and swearing. The list of "bad words" was enormous in my mothers day compared to today.
When researching before writing this blog entry, I came across this in Wikipedia about swearing:
Tape-recorded conversations find that roughly 80–90 spoken words each day — 0.5% to 0.7% of all words — are swear words, with usage varying from between 0% to 3.4%. In comparison, first-person plural pronouns (we, us, our) make up 1% of spoken words.
Research looking at swearing in 1986, 1997, and 2006 in America found that the same top-ten words of a set of over 70 different swear words were used. The most-used swear words were fuck, shit,
hell, damn, goddamn, bitch, boner, and sucks. These eight made up roughly 80% of all profanities. Two words, fuck and shit, accounted for one-third to one-half of them. The phrase "Oh my God" accounts for 24% of American women's swearing.
(I thought it was funny that "boner" was a swear. I don't think I've ever used that one!)
Children are historically punished for swearing. I know a few people who swear every other word. I feel it is result of being punished as a child for swearing. Once the person finally has freedom of speech and their autonomy they make up for all of that past control and swear so much more than someone normally would.
My children do not swear anymore than I do really. Sometime Ivy will get stuck on a certain swear and try it out for a while and combine it with other swears in a creative way. Assbitch is one of her newest creative expressions.
Our children do have a clear understanding of when it is okay for them to do so, and when it is inappropriate. They have a respect for others who are uncomfortable with swearing.
At a recent visit to my friends house, she pulled out some organic alphabet cookies. The kids all sat together combing letter to make their names and spell out swears. They all had so much fun! We laughed and connected with our kids as they explored some words that our grandparents would have had soap put in their mouths for.
It was liberating and freeing to know that we didn't have to do what was done to us when we were kids when it came to swearing. It was light and fun and not at all serious.. I think some parents would be so much happier if they could lighten up about the whole swearing issue.
Here is a video I thought would be great to share with this entry.
The seven dirty words (or "Filthy Words") are seven English-language words that American comedian George Carlin first listed in 1972 in his monologue "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television". At the time, the words were considered highly inappropriate and unsuitable for broadcast on the public airwaves in the United States, whether radio or television. It's interesting that many of these "swears" are on television today. Times are changing and our culture is relaxing surrounding the issue of swearing. This is progress, growth and a good thing... in my world anyway.