Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mind Your P's and Q's

I had an odd conversation today with one of Dylan's teachers.

"I overheard Dylan say the P word in class today."
"Um, the P word," I say, racking my brain for all possible cuss words, or inappropriate language.


"He said he was pissed," said the teacher, lowering her voice to a whisper during the first syllable and vaguely pronouncing the rest.

"Oh, I said." Because really, what does one say?
"You don't think there's anything wrong with that?"
"No, not really," I blurted, not thinking that obviously SHE thought there was something wrong with that otherwise she wouldn't have whispered it.

"You don't see anything wrong with vulgarity," she asked me, quite frenzied.

Clearly, there's no way to win this argument. Of course I don't approve of vulgarity. I just didn't know that the P word was on the list. Among 13 year old boys, I've heard a lot more than the p word, the possibilities are endless. And no, the  word wasn't possibility.

"What is wrong with the world if a swear word that used to be a swear word is not a problem," she said. Here's what's wrong with the world:

Our school is inundated with sexting issues. Lewd text messages, nude photos being passed from cell phone to cell phone. Kids are causally having sex with multiple partners, girls are sexually aggressive toward the boys, kids are coming to school high on pot. alcoholism is rampant, kids are being arrested for assaulting law enforcement. And this is at a Christian high school.

I don't think the P word is the battle I'm willing to die for, the sword I'm willing to fall on or the battle I'm willing to pick, whatever the cliche is.

One generations' swear word is another generation's' adverb. As parents and educators, we can stick our head in the sand and try to fight past battles or we can concede defeat with the p word but look the ugliness and sin of this generation straight in the eye and refuse ignore it.

We can correct behavior and form a 'perfect' child on the outside, but if we don't acknowledge that the war has intensified and the vocabulary is only a part of the problem, we are at best annoying and at worst, worthless.

Our problems are but a small part of their present battle. These present problems are but a foreshadowing of future horrors if we don't get active.

Forget minding your p's and q's.  Maybe we should stop correcting their speech so we can hear what they are saying.

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