DSM: RE: Re: name calling and swearing (FWD)

From: Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Date: Sat Apr 14 2001 - 23:38:28 EDT

Cindy, Casey,

With regard to swearing, Sudbury kids amaze me on two fronts:

1) They are highly aware and conscious of the social context they are in.

We let Jimmy & Josette know early on that swearing was not important to us,
but that what might be important to them was to realize that some people are
offended by things that their buddies might not care about. To my
amazement, my son today has a vastly higher developed awareness of that
context than I, who as recently as three weeks ago was seen by my unit
officer-in-charge flipping my unit non-comm-officer-in-charge off, do. (Of
course the OIC agreed with my assessment, but that's a whole 'nother story)

I have never, ever personally heard Jimmy use a swear word once in his
life - *as far as he knows*. Or heard him do it in front of another adult.
The only time I have ever heard him swear was when we was with his friends,
him not aware I could hear him, which brings me to point two:

2) On average, they swear incredibly well.

The time I heard this, he was with his buds playing Tony Hawk or something,
and his use of vulgarity was about the most highly crafted piece of
inflammatory language I have ever heard. While I would not like to recite
verbatim, the cadence of one particular line of explicatives amounted to
"well you can *verb* my *adjective*, *adjective* *participle verb*
*noun/body part*".

When I heard this poetically terse and Joycean diatribe spring from his
lips, I can tell you that the pride that welled up in my chest felt the same
as it did when he read for the first time (without Linda or I ever
suggesting he learn to read), when he first beat me at Super Smash Brothers
without me letting him, or when he did his first nose stall.

Of course, he was six at the time, and despite my prior assurances (to him
and myself) that I was not personally offended by swearing, I hypocritically
heard the Dad in me say "Jimmy, that's enough." into the adjacent room after
a couple more choice morsels.

He hears me, comes frantically tearing into my study wide-eyed and asking,
"YOU MEAN WE CAN'T PLAY VIDEO GAMES ANYMORE!?!!", to which I laughed and
responded, "no, I mean that's enough of 'you can *verb* my *adjective*,
*adjective* *participle verb* *noun/body part'". Thankfully relieved, he
said, "Oh", and ran back to his friends.


IMO, most SM kids are more socially-aware AND vulgarity-literate than their
conventionally-schooled counterparts by a factor of a decimal point or more.
In real life, both of these are a couple of the most important skills that
people who wish to work and live with other people can have.

Joe Jackson

> Hi Casey,
> I was just introduced to this idea of free speach at the schools when I
> watched one of the SVS videos. I don't remember which one because I've
> watched so many that it's all a blurr now. I am still trying to
> get used to
> the whole foul language thing myself. At first I didn't think it was
> 'right.' It still doesn't sit great with me but I feel it starting to
> settle in my mind as many other SVS aspects have in the past, once I got
> beyond the initial shock of how different it is. I think my initial
> reaction had a lot to do with a 'what will the
> neighbours/inlaws/my mother!
> think?!' attitude. So I have been mulling it over in my head for a few
> days. How can I allow freedom of speech with limits? You can
> have freedom
> of speech as long as I approve? How lame. At the same time, the
> idea of my
> children being exposed to this kind of language is not on the top of my
> desires list. (My kids are 4 and 2) Yet, I have to remember that I was
> exposed to it and even when kids aren't allowed to do it, they do. I may
> not have used foul language in school in front of my teachers but I
> certainly used it. I think (now I'm getting hypothetical because
> it hasn't
> happened yet) that if my kids were to pick up the nasty language habit, I
> would try to keep it from happening around me. I know that this is not in
> line with the whole freedom thing, but the home is different from school -
> at least my home is right now. I wouldn't like it very much but I really
> don't know how I'd handle it. Maybe by then, I will have evolved to the
> point that it won't bother me, or maybe not. Good luck to you.
> CindyK
> Sudbury, Ontario
> PS. I love the zuzuspetals thing - it's sooo sweet! I love that movie.
> Thanks for the smile! :)
> > Subject: name calling and swearing
> >
> > I am new to the list and am interested in how people feel about
> name-calling
> > and swearing. My son (5yo) attends a free school and I am sometimes
> > shocked by the language the kids use with each other and the staff.
> >
> > My DS has embraced a lot of these words and uses them often at
> home and in
> > public. I am particularly concerned with the name-calling and swearing
> done
> > outside of the (free) school environment. Some friends, neighbors and
> > relatives find my DS's expanding vocabulary offensive. I am
> worried that
> > people will run the other way when the see us coming!
> >
> > This is new to me and I'm not sure how to handle this. Any ideas?
> >
> > Casey

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