Plymouth Congregational Church

God for All

And He Said What?


Pastor Bill’s “Note from the Pastor” in this coming Sunday’s bulletin has to do with the “social mask” people assume.   How we usually are on our best behavior, watching our language and what not.

It’s kind of funny to me that he chose the quote he did, as I have been thinking a lot about people’s secret lives.  About how we really should learn to be content with what we have and not compare our lot in life to others.  Because you never know what goes on behind closed doors.  But that may be a blog for another day.

Today I want to talk about John Williams, the on-air personality for WGN radio in Chicago (720 am).  The other day, while talking with Eric Zorn, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, he used a phrase that some thought was a bit on the vulgar side.  John didn’t think so, and so they posed that question on their daily “News Click,” where people get to vote on a specific question.   Surprisingly, quite a few people DID think it was vulgar.

Today, John was talking to Mr. Zorn and this topic came up again.  John W. wondered if people were using more offensive language these days, and the conversation eventually turned to whether they allowed their kids to swear.  Mr. Zorn stated that he doesn’t allow his kids to swear in front of either his wife or himself, doesn’t like to hear them swear in front of adults – but allows that they will swear with their friends.

I will never forget when my daughter turned four and we were having her birthday party.  We had relatives over, including my grandparents.  I can’t remember what preceded her coming out with a swear word, but she did – right in front of my grandfather.  He looked at me … and I looked at my husband (1st husband for those of you who know husband #2 🙂   … because that’s who she had learned the word from.

As John Williams and Eric Zorn continued their discussion, with John W. saying that his kids did sometimes swear.  And Mr. Zorn asked “don’t you model for your children?” (as in did he swear in front of his kids.)

I know some people that every 5th word spoken is a swear word and yet they wonder why their kids talk back, etc.  Growing up, I don’t think my sisters and I were really even allowed to say “shut-up,” let alone swear.  Mr. Zorn said that the “rule in their house was, would they say that word if the parson was over?”  Now I will admit, I have let a few not-so-nice words escape from my lips from time-to-time.  But I think my kids would probably say that they have rarely heard me swear.  Having said that, do my kids swear?  Not alot, but yes, they do.  So, does that shoot down the modeling good behavior theory? 

Once again, this reminds me of Pastor Bill’s illustration of what we put in to our minds and our hearts, comes out of our mouths.  So, shouldn’t that “on-your-best-behavior-social-mask” come off, and shouldn’t we try harder to be just as “well-behaved” at home as hopefully we are socially?  Was swearing acceptable in your home growing up?  Do you swear in front of your kids?  Do you find yourself using “offensive language” more these days?

If you want to listen to the discussion John Williams had 
today about the subject, you can click here: John Williams.

3 thoughts on “And He Said What?

  1. Grew up the product of a couple Marines. I’ll let you guess whether they swore in front of me. I wasn’t allowed to in their house (until I got older). Do I wish I didn’t ever resort back to my swearing..Yep. I used to be better at not swearing in front of my daughter. I’m working on getting back to how was.

  2. Good comments, Bob. I think I will try your “have a blessed day” comment and see how that goes. Meaning what we say sometimes is the hard part! 🙂

  3. Well….I guess I am old fashioned. I never swear in front of my son or any children and very little in front of anyone. Yep, I do not let my son say “shut up” either. It’s “be quiet”.

    Swear words are useless. I don’t think they get a point across any better. I try never to use them although they have escaped my mouth periodically and then I feel guilty. Just this morning on the way to work someone pulled out in front of me. Not to “toot my own horn” but I quietly said “have a blessed day”. Did I mean it? I think so.

    I hope I act the same everywhere. While I am human and not perfect, I try to put on Christ wherever I am.

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