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Columnist

Your words matter

The verdict is in. Most of you don’t care about swearing. I know this because I only got one response from someone who said it does matter. I did hear a few funny stories about swearing while I was out and about.

So, how do I actually feel about swearing?

There are situations where swearing is completely inappropriate. If you care whether or not your children swear, don’t swear around them — or, especially, at them.

I was at a gathering recently that was designed to attract children for a photo opportunity. The music that was playing was wildly inappropriate: not just peppered with swearing, but actually built around certain words. The idea of elementary age children dancing around to, and probably singing, such things just blows my mind. To be fair, someone did keep changing the song, but only when it was nearly over — but, come on, there are plenty of ways to play music where you don’t have to worry about that.

In general, I still don’t see the point of swearing, but I don’t think it’s the worst habit in the world. Just don’t point it at me. Unless, of course, your purpose is to disrespect and wound me. Then, go right ahead, I’m sure those words will serve your purpose well.

However, I believe you can do just as much damage with an “unkind” word or a harsh tone as you can with a “bad” word.

“You never do anything right.” “You should just give up.” “You should have...” “I wish you were more like...” Or any phrase said with a tone that implies you are stupid because you didn’t already know or do something.

Let’s use our words to build people up. A little girl in a car outside my building said, “I like your outfit,” to me as I walked by the other day. I bet somebody is giving her positive messages on a regular basis.

It’s a circle, either way. If you tear people down, they’ll likely do the same to others. Compliment them, and you start a positive circle.

Make it a point to compliment someone today. Tell them they’re doing a good job, notice if they’ve taken time to help someone else, and say something.

I’ve never been good at accepting compliments; please don’t gush at me. I like to be in the background. But when you all mention something you like about what I write, it gives me a lift. I’m glad that something I enjoy doing, brings enjoyment or emotion to someone else.

To close, I received a response to my last column from my second-favorite teacher of all time — sorry Mr. Hughes, Mrs. Skinner gave us graham crackers every day and introduced me to Shel Silverstein’s poetry or you’d be at the top. I’d like to share his response.

kindness is the answer

it can be taught

it can be modeled

it can be encouraged

it can be rewarded

it can be nurtured — Randy Hughes

•••

What matters to you?

Email: rsmith@crestonnews.com

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