In raising our boys, Mike and I work hard (as ALL of us do!) to instill morals and values that will carry them throughout their lives. We want them to grow to be men of character and conviction to know what is right. As a teacher, I have the same responsibility for them. I shared this story of a conversation I had with S just a few nights ago.
He wanted to know why some words were bad. He wasn't talking about racial slurs or outright vulgar words. He was primarily talking about cr** and su***. Aren't they just words? No. They are trashy. They sound horrible coming out of an adult's mouth, and even worse coming out of the mouth of a child/tween. We don't say those words. Period. (OK, I may let cr** slip out, but I'm mostly a "damn it" kind if girl.). It seems that both those words are in the vocabulary of almost every middle school student in the country. He said it made him feel weird to say "crud" and "stinks". And that sometimes he slips when he is around his friends. I was so proud that he told me that - that he confessed. He shared. And I told him how proud I was.
I asked him if anyone ever teased him. He said no, that no one really seems to notice. I asked if he was losing friends. He said no, that he was making even more friends in his new school and always had people around him. Do all your friends use that language? No, he met a new kid named J whom he really likes who seems to have parents "who believe a lot of the same things as you, Mom".
So, things are fine. But I gave him a bit of advice that is really the crux of what I told my students.
Pretend Mimi or GrandMuz are with you all the time. If you would want them to hear it, then say it. If not, then you know what to do.
If only we would all remember to do that...