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Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say?

The above video is a post on Ed Young’s blog. Watch the video before reading on.

I have many a conversation with my children about the words we use: what’s appropriate and what isn’t. I remember one day being in a fast food restaurant and my oldest son (9 years old) asked me, “Why do people use ‘bad words?’” I was tempted to humourously give the Sunday School answer and say, “Because they don’t love Jesus.” I didn’t, though. what I did say was that sometimes people get lazy with the words they use. We have a huge vocabulary to choose from, and God has given us creative minds to express ourselves in a multitude of creative ways. Sometimes it’s just easier to use more vulgar words rather than to think through what we are saying. I did postscript with the statement that sometimes… more often rare than not… there are appropriate times to use vulgar words and as he grows older we will help him identify those times.

Now, while I may not agree completely with Ed, I do think he makes a really great point in that we need to carefully and creatively pick the words we use. I, too, have been concerned with some known speakers throwing around words (maybe not all “bad-bad”) that are just lazy or simply for the sake of shock value. I’m sure these speakers have their reasons for the words they choose, I’m not sure if I agree with them. Simply throwing out words with the air of carelessness gives license to those who listen to us to be just as careless with their words. Language is one of the key things that allows us to create, and we need to use our words carefully and model what that means.

We all draw lines in different places of what is “appropriate” and “inappropriate” language. I do think there are some generally accepted universals as to what are definitely vulgar and not appropriate for common use. While I don’t think any words are necessarily off-limits, I do think that there are ways in which words are used that are lazy, inappropriate and a discredit to the creative spirit that lives within each of us.

  • What do you think about the language we use?
  • What do you teach your kids about “good” words and “bad” words?”
  • How does your culture define what is good and what is bad when it comes to the words we use?

4 Responses to “Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say?”

  1. jcisonline June 7, 2009 at 8:33 pm #

    Great Post! I will say that alot of the words that are questionable are exactly that, out of carelessness. It's sad but things like sucks and crap have been a part of my life for years.

  2. Henry Zonio June 8, 2009 at 5:08 am #

    Yeah, those are a part of my vocab, too. There are times I have to recalibrate and not make those my default words :)

  3. kennyconley June 8, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    I posted about this many moons ago: http://www.childrensministryonline.com/humor/cuss...

    A co-worker sent me the link to Ed's post and I loved it. We mistake authenticity with the freedom to be crass. It's not the same.

    Now I'm trying to stop saying sucks and crap not because of this, but I'm not sure I want my children talking like this. :)

    • Henry Zonio June 9, 2009 at 4:56 am #

      I missed that post by you… Love Lark News! There is a fine line between authenticity and taking license to do what you want. If we're going to use a 'bad word" I'd hope there is a better reason than "I'm only being authentic and relevant."

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