Over the 29 years of my experience as the Head of School at Stoneybrooke, the verse that I have most often given to kids to memorize is Eph. 4:29. It says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
It is quite normal for kids to offer foolish arguments for dumb things. They often exhibit a lack of self control as their tongues go wagging in the breeze. They are prone to answering before they fully listen. They tell lies and often choose inappropriate slang words to get a reaction.
And it is not getting any better as the years go by. In point of fact, I believe that coarse, crude profanity is becoming almost accepted in our culture. You can not attend a ballgame without being blasted with swear words. Profanity punctuates our malls and restaurants and the days of gentlemen asking ladies for their forgiveness when a slip did occur are long gone.
It is no wonder that recent research is now correlating the “use of bad language (from videos, television, movies, magazines) with the tendency to exhibit physical and relational violence” (Presidential Prayer Team.com). Not only is swearing on the increase, but it is starting at an earlier age. Researchers are finding that kids are swearing much more often now than just ten years ago.
To make matters worse, the publishing industry has decided that swearing sells books. Titles such as “S… My Dad Says” by Justin Halpern, “A…Finish First” by Adam Mansbach, “If You Give a Kid a Cookie, Will He Shut the …UP?” by Marcy Roznick are showing up on the shelves at our local book store (and online).
According to usatoday.com, St Martin’s Press executive Marc Resnick remarked about the book “Go the …..To Sleep” and said, “Whether they verbalize it or not, every parent has moments when they want the kid to shut the …..up. It is a book for adults who have heard these words. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Books have a lot to compete with these days.” A book seller in Exeter, N. H. added, “People really giggle when they see the titles. They sell with absolutely no help from us. It is word of mouth and media attention.”
Something is wrong here. This week, we all need to review Eph. 4:29 and commit ourselves to wholesome talk. Our society depends on it. If we don’t, our kids will just keep on mirroring our poor word choices and soon our entire vocabulary will begin with a *!!!
Proverbs 15:28 “The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil.”
By His Grace and for His Glory,
Sherry L. Worel