This I Believe

Kim - 67226, Kansas
Entered on November 10, 2006

The Innocent Can Never Last

As people grow up and move from childhood to adulthood, some of their old habits and beliefs are shed and are replaced by new ones. This is true for some people more than others. Almost all my peers at school swear and use bad language, either occasionally or every day. I believe that in this way, those who have begun using such language, especially around adolescence, have lost their innocence they used to possess.

In this day and age, I hear swearing take place all around me; on the radio, in movies, on television, from friends, classmates, and even teachers. (And I thought teachers were supposed to set a good example…?) I think in my generation, it has become socially acceptable to use bad words, even in a professional environment, and so nearly everybody does it. Such free use of bad language would never have been tolerated even twenty years ago.

However, I am an exception to my general belief. I am one of the very few (at my age) who still don’t ever use bad words. I think most children are innocent for a number of reasons, and one reason is that they don’t swear. This is because most of them don’t know any bad words and will not learn them until later on. It is at that point when they decide to start cursing, first only a little bit, then more and more frequently, that they sell their souls to the devil (or something to that effect).

About two weeks after the start of my junior year in high school, a teacher in one of my classes assigned us something new. We had to write an original first rough draft for an essay of a prescribed topic. The teacher read us an article about such a draft which had a semi-forbidden bad word in it. Throughout the article, that word appeared about six times, and was therefore read aloud about six times. I found this free use of bad words surprising and funny. It is partly because figures of higher authority, such as teachers, curse freely that the students adopt the habit, as well.

I would say that about ninety percent of teenagers and adults who I know use bad words, at least some of the time. I am one of the few who do not, and have not yet conformed to such a widely accepted habit. And I don’t plan to. I believe that people swear because it gives them a sense of pride as well as acceptance by others. This is understandable. However, I also believe that swearing has its consequences, and from the time someone begins this habit, they unwittingly lose their childhood innocence as well.