I used to work in a nursing home. While it was a very worthwhile job and completely necessary. I, hopefully, am not the first to tell you that a nursing home isn’t often staffed with the classiest of humans. I wish they were. Our geriatric population deserves better, but the low wages and tough work makes it less attractive to some people.
And I grew a sailor mouth there. There was a &$@( and a &@^! every now and then. My mother was totally appalled.
I am not sure I’ve ever heard her utter a swear word other than the time she ran over our neighbors cat (which, frankly, was probably well-deserved).
After a couple of years there, it was just commonplace in my vocabulary. I never felt totally comfortable using them, but I did.
And yes, if they all jumped off a bridge I totally would have too. 🙂
But then, I got pregnant. And that baby started to grow ears inside my body. I started to think about what tiny ears would hear and how swear words affect your environment.
When he was a couple of months from being born, I decided to stop swearing. It just wasn’t for me anymore.
Now, a lot of people seem to think that swearing is 100% fine. In fact, my current workplace is probably just as bad (or worse) as the nursing home. But I am working hard not to pick up the vernacular. And here’s why:
- It shows that small bursts of inappropriate anger are OK: Are you firing a gun, no. But you’re saying something to get attention or to get out emotions that you need to let off in another way. I really think it breeds a hostile environment, and I don’t want any part in that.
- I don’t want to offend people. A lot of people find those words extremely offensive. Why do I want to make those around me uncomfortable by using them? I certainly don’t want that.
- It doesn’t represent me how I want to be represented. I just don’t think classy people swear. Sure, they might swear every now and then (guilty) but, in general, they can find other words to use instead.
- I do NOT want my kid to be “that kid” that throws an F bomb every few days at school. I think kids that swear at school needs to be disciplined. It’s not OK (and I think schools, in general) have become too tolerant of it.
- I keep it inside. Yup, there are often swear words going off in my head like fireworks. I find them particularly bad when things are going south at work. I’m just nervous and that’s what happens. But I don’t need to say them out loud. That doesn’t help a tense situation.
I’m not saying I NEVER swear. I just regret it when I do, and I wish more of us would be more respectful of those around us when we speak. I wish it was a value that society treasured (respecting others). Of course, I have a whole post about using the F-bomb in labor and I really don’t mind if when my patients swear. They’re paying me and sometimes that pain can be excruciating. If it helps — let’s get through it.
Although, my favorite is when older nurses — usually, they are the ones that can get away with it — remind patients that’s what got them into this mess, but I digress….
One final thing:
It’s a commandment that we not take the Lord’s name in vain. That, especially, means we don’t use his name in horrible combinations with other swear words. I find that particularly offensive and that is not something I ever picked up. It hurts my heart. I wish more people would show some respect for other’s values by not using that one. I find it terribly offensive and I do speak up to say that I wish they would stop.
So, are you a swear-er? Do you wish you weren’t?
Do you ask people to not swear when they are around you? I am quick to say “hey now — let’s simma‘ down” when it gets particularly bad at work. I must admit I’m cautious to say it when we are out because I don’t know how people will respond to my query for them to be more respectful (especially if there are children around).
If you have a great way to respond to swearing, I’d love to hear it — put it in the comments! And, if you truly believe that swearing is OK in all occasions I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree.