January 1, 2011



Yesterday I wrote, ???There are habits I???d like to break and habits I???d like to adopt. I have goals that I would like to reach. There are some new dreams I want to explore and hopes to resurrect some old ones.??? Is this simply a fancy way of approaching the subject of resolutions for 2011? Maybe. If so, I have several this year. Some of them I am more serious about than others. But here???s a list of a few:

- Leave the radio off whenever driving alone; listening to God, practicing silence.
- Hold my kids more than my phone.
- Walk to work at least once a week, exercise more often.
- Read a book a week, read the whole Bible in a year.
- Write at least 500 words a day; school work, articles, blogging or journaling (maybe that pesky book Dan and I keep talking about).
- Improve my Spanish (see below).
- Improve my guitar playing (drums are too much work)

But there is one resolution I made in 2010 that I really hope to conquer in 2011: swearing.

When I was in my early twenties, I worked for a moving company. I was the only person on our crew of drivers and movers that didn???t have a criminal record. And I learned the fine art of swearing on that job. Yes, some of those guys were awe-inspiring in what words they could place together whenever someone cut them off on the freeway. Like Ralphie???s dad in The Christmas Story, any one of those fellas ???worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master.???

Not many years later, I got into construction and found the skill taken to a new level and even crossing into other languages, namely Spanish. But here???s the problem, swearing just sounds unintelligent. It jars people but I think it rarely does more than that. I really started feeling compelled about this when I saw Ian McKaye conduct a Q&A at USCD. McKaye is an intelligent person. Seriously bright and inspiring guy! But I guarantee he loses people every time he drops an F-bomb. Tony Campolo is a fan of placing cuss word into a sentence for effect. But folks pay attention more to the shock of it more than the point intended. Bottom line, I think it???s just too easy. Swearing is the cheap shot; a lazy way to communicate an emotion around an idea. I want to communicate better, manage emotive responses better. So, I???m trying to refrain from foul language in order to fill the space with something... better.

Honestly, I am not bothered by others swearing. I certainly wouldn???t encourage it but it doesn???t offend me. I just simply want to stop swearing myself. So, in order to get serious about this I talked to my wife and kids last year. I told them that I would pay them a dollar any time they heard me use a bad word. I???m doing a lot better.

But, I???ve got room to improve.

I still owe Paige six bucks.


Anonymous said...

excellent post. interesting enough, i went to mr.mckaye's Q&A session at UCSD those few years back as well, which was definitely an educational experience. as for the main subject of your post, swearing, i personally made that decision as well, for the same motivations that you had described, and it has on a whole been beneficial. thank you for sharing this, and for making this commitment.

Anonymous said...

Glad to read that you share the same conviction. Thanks for stopping by, Raineir!

Anonymous said...

J - Yes, we definitely have to start up our writing project again. I've got that on my resolution list, too. Can I get in on this swearing jar thing? I'll take a quarter every time you swear :D

Anonymous said...

Yes, please do! I'll take any help I can get, that is, unless I go broke first.

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