February 12, 2015

Atheist Mama: What about swearing?

Recently, I knocked one of the books off of my secular parent reading list: Building Moral Intelligence, by Michele Borba.

This is not, in and of itself, a secular book. Borba mentions her family's faith several times, and she also cites declining religious belief as one of the reasons that she sees moral decay happening. On the flipside, comments in another part of the book indicate that she doesn't chalk this up so much to the loss of religion itself as to the loss of a supportive values-based community for parents to lean on, and she mentions that secular communities, including online communities, can fill this gap too.

Another caveat: this book is full of fear-mongering. The simple truth is, that's how parenting experts make their money, and I don't blame them. If there's not a crisis, then there's not a market for speaking engagements and books. I do not believe there is the crisis of values at quite the scale that this book would indicate. I do think there are things that all parents can do better.

That being said, it was overall a good book, and I have a ton of ideas from it. It's given me an idea for a new project. Maybe even a secondary blog. We'll see how that pans out.

It also gave me, however, a serious case of guilt. The reason? Swearing.

I've never been a big fan of overly censoring my language around my kids. They know that occasionally I will drop a swear, although we do now have a swear jar--my older son gets a quarter for every time I swear.

Is it really that big of a deal?

My first instinct is to say yes...but also no.

I suppose it depends on the circumstances. If it was that I were swearing at people, or using slurs all the time, I'd say, resoundingly, that I was in the wrong.

But when I stub my toe or drop something? I don't see it as a big deal.

My spouse recently sent me a picture of this shirt, and promptly suggested that he purchase it for me:

I do tend to keep the f-bombs away from the children. Why the difference?

I suppose that it comes down to wanting children to learn the difference between what's appropriate in one environment--a conversation with the spouse, or a family member, or a friend--and what's appropriate in other social atmospheres.

Do I consider it the end of the world? Definitely not.

But is it something that I plan to work on?


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