I believe what your mother has to say is of great importance.
No teenager wants to admit it but, what I am about to say is that my mother is right. Sure, when she tells you to clean your room you think, “No way…” but, when she teaches you about things like drugs and to stay away from them you make it a personal value to stay away from them. What about all those subjects that float in the middle of these two extremities? Some people forget those little things that help shape our lives and how people see us. One thing I will never forget is what my mother told me about the words we choose to express ourselves.
“If you choose to use swear words or any other profanity you will not get the respect you would otherwise get…”
This didn’t mean anything to me until I went to school later that week. I was working away trying to prevent having a lot of homework, when a student who usually got in trouble on a regular basis started making jokes about a girl who had a hard family life. The teacher immediately noticed this and told that student to be quiet. The jokes didn’t stop. The teacher, now getting frustrated, started lecturing the student on how rude they were being. This student was not one to take criticism and started yelling and swearing at the teacher saying, “What are you going to do about it …!” The teacher, trying to control their own emotion, grabbed the students arm and took them out into the hall way like dragging a stack of bricks. I’m not sure what happened to that student but I am sure they got an ear full.
Later, the student who made the jokes in class learned he was suspended for two days. It came as a shock to the class. At this moment came the realization that when we use such language we immediately relinquish all respect and any positive impressions of ourselves. Unfortunately, people in today’s society are always making judgments about each other. We often judge people by the language they use. They could be really great people but, if they use profane and offensive language most people would “shut themselves off” from the conversation or choose not to associate with them.
I believe that if we want to portray ourselves as respectable people we should choose wisely the words we use to express ourselves. Making this change can be like being behind the person who got the last dessert. This is something that no one can help you go through; you need to figure it out on your own whether it is by trial and error or personal contemplation. It’s still hard for me to do all those other chores when my mother asks me. But, when my mother has something to say whatever it may be, I listen and test her “theories” but she’s always right in the end.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.