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Not long ago I witnessed a woman shopping at Walmart with her granddaughter when she heard a volley of four-letter words spew from the mouths of two teenagers sharing the aisle.
The woman turned and firmly asked the young people to refrain from such language in front of her 6-year-old granddaughter. The teenagers mocked and humiliated her for her request.
Disgusted, the woman took her granddaughter by the hand and left the store, wondering how these young people could be so insensitive and disrespectful.
It surely would have been easier for the grandmother to ignore the polluted talk, but this dignified woman was raised in a day when young people were taught to use respectable language and honor the requests of their elders.
Our language is a reflection of our character, as well as a measure of the respect we feel for others. Perhaps we have all become desensitized to the ever-present f-word and the taking of the Lord’s name in vain scripted into movies, television and used in casual conversation.
I would hope that a nation so blessed as the United States could set a higher standard.
In July of 1776, General George Washington issued this general order to his troops: “The General is sorry to be informed that the foolish and wicked practice of profane cursing and swearing, a vice heretofore little known in an American army, is growing into fashion. He hopes the officers will, by example as well as influence, endeavor to check it, and that both they and the men will reflect, that we can have little hope of the blessing of Heaven on our arms, if we insult it by our impiety and folly. Added to this, it is a vice so mean and low, without any temptation, that every man of sense and character detests and despises it.”
I’m proud of the grandmother at Walmart who taught her grandchild a higher standard. I admire her courage and hope we can all do the same.
Richard Haddad is Director of News and Digital Content for Western News&Info, Inc., the parent company of The Daily Courier.