Yes, I do sometimes swear. Not often though, I don’t like the feeling I get when I know I could have chosen another word. But that’s me. The truth is, people swear and I’ve certainly been around it my entire life, it doesn’t offend me. I just sometimes wonder why.
My life experiences which include friends and acquaintances from all walks of life and all economic strata, have shown me that some people swear as part of everyday language. It’s who they are, it’s where they feel comfortable and it’s how they express themselves. I do hear more blue conversations among men, but these days I’m starting to hear just as many women swear.
But I still wonder, why we aren’t raising the bar toward better language? We have thousands of wonderful expressive words in our language, so why do we boil it down to the worst of words.
I have several letters written by my great grandfather that he wrote to my great grandmother during his time of service in the Civil War. His letters outline the difficulties of marching with Sherman, having little food, worn out shoes and very tough conditions. He chronicles that he hopes his dear wife can borrow some flour and sugar from the neighbors as the soldiers have gone for some time without pay and don’t know when pay will come. He writes all of this from camp while using his canteen as a writing surface. His words are eloquent and descriptions of life on the battle field are complete. And in all of this, not one disparaging comment or foul word. And, let it not go unsaid that the penmanship was a thing of beauty.
So, where was the swearing that would have better described his poor living conditions, the fact that he was killing, and that he was scared for his life? Maybe because he was writing his wife he had simply chosen to be polite. I wasn’t there, and can’t ask.
I can ask, if being polite is what we’re losing? In light of the Presidents recent comments that have played over and over in the news, I have to say it lacked all politeness and displayed zero diplomacy. We’ve got lots of good words to use and we have plenty of knowledge of what good behavior looks like. So why aren’t we raising the bar?
We should be! I think the future of our global relations and relationships with our own families, are hinged on being polite. I think we are a better people and better connected by the use of good words, words that lift, honor and educate. Let’s try that, let’s hope for that. What could it hurt?
If you want to add good penmanship to that, it’s up to you.