Monday, November 7, 2011


Yesterday, as we were going about our business, my daughter, in the course of describing to me how angry she was at something random that had happened, dropped the f-bomb. You know, the "queen mother of all bad words". Yes, that word. Unlike when my first child first said such a thing in front of me, I simply told her to watch her language, and we went on with our day.
This is not how things were when I was growing up. My mother always told me that if I didn't start cussing, there would never be a day when I had to try to stop. My father, who knew how much my mother hated cussing, tried his level best not to cuss in front of us, but he merely ended up sounding like Daffy Duck. ("Racka-Sacka-Frackin-Nacker!") It became something of a game to us, betting on how long he could go without saying an actual cuss word, and was an endless source of amusement to us as children. Even my mother can be driven to an occasional "crap" when she is really angry.
I managed to go without cussing as a habit until I was in my late teens, when driving became a daily necessity, and my inner road rage emerged. Now, having lived in Chicagoland all of my adult life I, like all other suburbanites, drive under the illusion that my driving is better than all of those around me, and every other driver is a complete and total moron who deserves to have every cuss word in the book tossed at them in multiples, along with the occasional finger.
But I try not to have any illusions about my parenting skills, and I recognize that even if I and their father never uttered a single cross word, our children would almost certainly begin to use those words as they venture out into the world.
I attempt to keep an open mind, and to teach them that there are better choices of words to express themselves, and there are situations in which a cuss word might be appropriate, and other situations in which one certainly should not use such words.
For the most part I think I've succeeded. My children can have an entire conversation without using a cross word, and they know not to say certain things in, say, church. So I think they'll be alright.
At least she didn't blame it on Shwartz. (nod to the movie, "A Christmas Story" )