I originally wanted to begin this blog by listing a number of fill-in-the-blank examples of the more overt uses of the dumbed down language (I would call it inappropriate) heard coming from the mouths of students at malls, movie theaters, fast food restaurants, and schools. However, when your student ministry friend reads the blog and is shocked, I decided to simply ask you to remember your latest visit to one of these student hangouts and recall what you heard (thanks Jason!). And to be clear, it is not just those nasty cussin' words grabbing my attention. How, about the lack of respect stuff?
"You are so stupid!"
"_____________ that teacher/coach/principle/student minister/officer (insert your favorite rage focus) is going to get a piece of my mind!"
"I know what the rules are but I am going to do whatever I want!" (said with any number of non-verbal signals of sarcasm)
Before pointing the finger at today's movies, music and mobile devices culture (I had to find another "M"), I would like to point out a much more powerful influence impacting today's student language woes--ADULTS!
I realize even the most careful adult can slip and say something inappropriate in front of a student--we are human. Still, what amazes me is the seemingly increasing number of adults I have witnessed speaking the dumbed down dialect with no reservation or concern. However, if adults don't care to watch their language, why should students? I believe it our responsibility as adults to expect more out of our own language and those around us.
I am definitely not suggesting pulling a bar of soap out every time you hear a student or adult drop their favorite expletive and/or less than appropriate word in public. I am suggesting the following:
- As an adult, expect more out of your own word choices--students are listening. I am not saying you need to bring back the king's language or outlaw contractions in your speech. I am saying that adults can not call student's to a standard they are unwilling to keep themselves. By the way, it is totally alright to apologize when you cross the speech line.
- Expect more out of the word choices used by the students and adults you have a direct relationship with. It is totally appropriate to call foul when someone you care about is speaking the dumbed down dialect. As a culture, word choices will continue to deteriorate unless a standard is raised. Let's start with those we are in direct relationship.