Language. It’s an interesting thing. After the kidlets drove away in the big yellow school bus this morning, my neighbor and I discussed language–and how some words have different meanings in different languages, and how some English words have different interpretations as well. This conversation is actually an on-going conversation about kids/language/school….and the word SUCKS.
Several weeks ago, T-man got into some major trouble at school. apparently, he said “this sucks” out-loud during computer class. The teacher heard him, took him out to the hallway, lectured him on using PROFANITY in her classroom, took him to the principal’s office for another lecture on profanity, and sent a note home for both Hubby and I to sign.
As with everything that goes on with our kids, we ask questions. I ask lots of questions–to get the entire story, as well as to see if the story changes. According to T, the comment was not directed at the teacher (she was standing in another part of the classroom) nor at the assignment. His computer was very slow to boot up (or some other technical glitch was occurring), and he said at the computer “this sucks.” I totally believed his story.
I signed the note for the teacher, but I also sent her an email. I wrote:
I do not consider “this sucks” to be profanity. I used the phrase as a kid, I use it as an adult, Hubby uses the phrase….even my proper mother says “this sucks” when something displeases her. Maybe it was inappropriate–T-man could definitely have used better word choices, such as ” this stinks”, “bummer,” “my computer isn’t working”….or better yet, not said anything at all. But I disagree that it was profanity. As a matter of fact, T-man (during the tongue-lashing he received) didn’t know what the word “profanity” meant! However, I do know that my boys do know “profane” or “swear” words–and they definitely do know better than to use any of them in front of adults.
The day that this transpired, I posted the question of “Do you consider “this sucks” to be profanity?” on FB. It started a very informative, lively, and frank discussion. I received 22 comments from friends–and they ranged from a few “Yes, that is not allowed to be said in my house” to “At least he didn’t drop the F-bomb” to “You should hear how High School kids talk” to “No, that is part of everyday language.”
Sadly, in today’s society, so many “swear” words are being used so non-chalantly. Have you watched TV lately? I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard the word “Bitch” on TV…..during daytime or primetime. Also, someone told me that “this sucks” is a common term on iCarly (just shows you how much I pay attention). But I did catch a Tide commercial the other day—a parent of triplets were folding clothes. At the end of the commercial, the mom (obviously tired of doing laundry) says “this sucks.”
But now let’s talk about another use of the word “sucks.” What prompted my neighbor to re-visit the discussion on the word today was that a boy in her daughter’s 4th grade class told her (J-the daughter) to “suck this.” And recently, I heard one of my boys say “suck me” as well. Do these kids even know what they are saying? IMO, this is profane use of the word “suck.” Interesting how “this sucks” doesn’t bother me, but “suck this” or “suck me” does bother me. How do I explain to my kids why one is OK and the other isn’t? Why can they say “I”m going to take a poo”, but it irks me when they say “I’m going to take a crap”? M-man has actually caught on to my modified-F-word. Instead of dropping the F-bomb, I say “fudge.” And now M-man does too. But of course, I know what his intent is (because I see him catching himself before he drops an F-bomb in front of his mom).
Language…..what interesting dilemmas it poses for us parents.