More F from the D.O.L.I.F.E.: No Matter How Tempting It Is to Use Newly-Acquired Vocabulary with Your Family and Friends, Curb Your Cursing

March 27, 2010

The foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.
• George Washington

A digression: When I first went to college and was still living at home with my parents and four younger siblings, I was grounded for a month for saying the word “damn.” I was a clean-mouthed girl, trained by my Grandma Wilkins who believed in washing her grandchildrens’ mouths out with soap. I learned pretty quickly not to say the swear words I learned from grandpa and his friends. Other kinds of verbal infractions were punished by adhesive tape over the mouth. That wasn’t nearly as bad as holding a bar of soap in my mouth while grandma lectured.

When I went back to school to become a teacher, I was an adult who still didn’t swear—a good example for my children. Then I began working in middle and high schools. It was f-in’ this and f-in’ that and the all-purpose use of the f-word for just about every part of speech. I quickly became inured to the sound. I got so comfortable that I adopted it myself, not really noticing until my oldest son said rather wistfully, “Mom, you sure do say f@#$ a lot.”

He was right, and I tried to stop. I still haven’t been completely successful in eradicating it, but here’s my advice if you’re a student: Practice watching your language now since the workplace operates by a different set of verbal rules. It can be very difficult to retrain yourself once you’ve opened the mouth’s floodgates and let yourself go.

More F advice:

• Food. Do eat breakfast and make sure your family does too. Let go of the idea of what’s proper breakfast food. If you like it or your family does and it’s healthy, it really doesn’t matter what it is. Tuna sandwiches, pizza, yogurt and fruit sundaes, toasted cheese sandwiches, soup, and lots of other things were regular breakfasts for us. Set the table the night before if you won’t be home and leave some encouraging words for your family to read as they eat.

• Frolic. Create end-of-the-term or paper/project’s done or other kinds of celebrations for you and your family and friends. Have rituals. I’ve mentioned these mirthdays and sillybrations before. My youngest son’s best memories from my college days were going to the grocery store on a Friday or Saturday night for a Popsicle® or Dove Bar®. I’m probably a rotten mom for letting him stay up keeping me company and fixing me tea, but these were special times for both of us. (My husband was an early a.m. radio announcer at the time—in bed by 8 p.m.)

• Fun. Save for common goals related to having fun together. It’s surprising what you’ll have at the end of a term if you pass up having a latte or soft drink or occasional bagel or candy bar. Enlist family in saving too and put the money into a savings jar. We used this money for cheap mini-vacations, but one year, we saved all year and went to Disneyland. Sad to say, this was in the good old days when a summer night passport went for $40.00 apiece. Alas, those days are finito.

Tomorrow, more F.

What do you—could you—do for fun with those you care about?

Live life fully while you’re here. Experience everything. Take care of yourself and your friends. Have fun, be crazy, be weird.
• Anthony Robbins


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