I Swear…NOT!

By John Gardner

Surrounded Blamed

Swearing, cussing, cursing …. or whatever you want to call it, has been around forever. And lately, it seems, it has been around more than I like…..

  • he finds the door locked and, not knowing I was near, unloads a string of “words” (his term) …… for which he profusely apologizes…., but only after discovering ME!
  • “pardon my french”….. when someone accidentally slips in a “colorful” word.
  • an Oscar winner drops “the f-bomb” and makes news headlines.
  • someone attributes the word for “female dog” or “fatherless child” to describe life or another individual.


  • someone slips on tv then asks, “can I say that on tv?”.
  • edited tv/radio have certain words bleeped out and institute delays so that they can bleep or silence unwanted verbiage.
  • it seems expected in some situations (“cusses like a sailor”) and common in others (assembly line work, sports…) while it is less or not at all tolerated in others.
  • some of you legitimately question why some mentors or teachers, in particular, say and do things off campus that they must discipline you for doing on campus…. and you use that to support your position.

…. so I want to share my personal position on the matter.

If you swear in my presence, one of us must leave. I find it personally offensive, disrespectful and a sign of your limited vocabulary — and it negatively impacts my respect for YOU. Can I forgive you? Yes. Can I forget? ….ummmm no! Can you regain respect? Not quickly.

WHY do I disrespect swearing? The root of the issue, for me, is scriptural. I live by what I believe to be clear teaching against it. Yes, Jesus cursed the fig tree, but there was a significant consequence to the tree. He became “the curse” to pay a price. There are numerous references to using “the Lord’s name” in vain, or in swearing at or by things. To avoid those cautions and condemnations, or the risk of offending, I choose to communicate differently.

‘Substitute’ words. For many, substitute words make it ok and I’ve been (and periodically continue to be) guilty here. To avoid abusing “God”, for example, we substitute Gosh, Golly, Garsh (a local priest uses this one). I’ve said, ‘what the heck, or darndang, son-of-a-band parent… and others. We know what “dad-gummit” or gosh-darn-it mean. I often see variations of “effing” or “freakin” used in facebook. I used “omg” until challenged by my son. He was right. Recently, I saw “oh em gee“.

Print and tv media use “f-bomb” and “n-word” as tolerated substitutes. Inserting an asterisk (*) in place of a letter of the word cleans it up. Is there any doubt what someone means to say when they spell “c**p”? I consider “G”, on the other hand, to be a perfectly acceptable substitute for “Mr. Gardner” in most cases.

Wikopedia claims one 4-letter word can be used as a verb, adverb, adjective, command, interjection, noun, and can logically be used as virtually any word in a sentence…and often is; printing an example of a complete sentence consisting of the repetition of that one word.

Have you ever been “cussed out”? Of course you have. And it normally involves 3-4 words inserted randomly and repeatedly to convey additional emphasis. Really? REALLY? Are you impressed? I am NOT!

Why must you have two sets of vocabulary? There seems to be the vocabulary you use among friends or when angry, which is totally different from what you say in school, in the presence of a teacher or work boss. Seems to me that it would be easier to maintain and expand one vocabulary so that you don’t have to remember which language to use when/where.


17 yrs experience as a high school band director. 14 yrs as college adjunct faculty. 30+ yrs in the fundraising industry and 24 yrs as a small business owner. (Don't add all those up.). Experience in both the fundraising sales and education worlds give me a unique combination of perspectives in both. I love working with the youthful enthusiasm of today's teenage achievers and with those who work with them. Also 4yrs as proprietor of VirtualMusicOffice.com, which offers a wide variety of virtual services including web/blog design/hosting/managing, social media management (scheduling posts/tweets for maximum impact and brand enhancement) and small business consulting - specializing in school product fundraising.

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