It seems not a day goes by – particularly during the summer months and in the hour after school lets out the rest of the year – that The Evening Sun newsroom is not beset by troublesome youths roaming Lackawanna Avenue and using some of the more ... colorful ... language at their disposal. And if you’ve listened closely to this up-and-coming generation of miscreants, probably a larger population than you might expect, you know exactly what I’m talking about, whether they’re gathered outside one of the local supermarkets or convenience stores, or simply wandering the streets.
It’s certainly not inspiring ... and that’s putting it mildly. Besides, who wants to hang out at a convenience store for hours on end anyway?
And don’t get me started on their shenanigans when it comes to crossing the street; that’s a column for another day.
Which is not to say I didn’t dabble in a little linguistic debauchery myself as a teenager and pre-teen (and to this day), yet there’s an obvious difference between our behavior back then – not to mention the frequency with which we were exposed to such roguish discourse – and these foul mouthed youngsters.
It’s called respect. Whether that be respect for oneself or respect for others. And these children – and I stress children – have no consideration for others, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. Simply put, if they have no fear of retribution at home for their filthy mouths, why would they worry about a tongue-lashing from a complete stranger?
Because that’s where respect is first learned, is it not? At home? You know, following the example set by parents and such?
Sadly, it’s a concept that’s largely ignored by an ever-growing segment of our population, on both the local and national levels.
Some people blame it on the TV screen (a simple philosophy), of course, yet they do have a point. The language one hears, 24 hours a day, on any given cable network is atrocious. It’s disheartening, when you get right down to it, to hear what I suppose are now considered the more “acceptable” curses at 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon. You know, right when the kids get home from school. Not to mention the non-stop assault that passes for entertainment throughout the day (see Jerry Springer). It used to be that all foul language was “beeped out,” of course (before then it simply wasn’t presented to a TV audience), yet now it’s become an everyday – and seemingly acceptable – practice.
How depressing to think we’re so willing to casually dismiss a respectable upbringing for our children simply for the sake of entertainment, because adult language is exactly that ... language to be used by adults ... in the presence of other adults.
Not by the pregnant 14-year-old smoking a cigarette and swearing up a storm with her hoodlum friends while hanging out at the local convenience store.
Am I right?
Regardless of where one places the blame, it truly does begin with good parenting, something that’s sorely lacking in a lot of cases. And really, foul language is just the tip of the iceberg, particularly when you consider our area’s high rate of teen pregnancy, drug abuse and generational dependence on welfare and other social programs.
With that said, are there people out there truly in need of assistance? Of course there are. Are there those who take advantage of the system, trading foodstuffs paid for by the tax paying general public for cash to support their nicotine, alcohol and drug addictions? You bet. Should that same tax paying general public be worried? Outraged? We have every right to be. Has this been going on for decades? It most certainly has.
As I write this, I realize I may sound more than a little prude, and perhaps even hypocritical. Let’s face it, we all use what could be considered inappropriate language from time to time (typically in the car, with drivers these days). Yet it should be noted that the simpleminded behavior displayed by our younger generations is a direct result of poor parenting (even down to the TV programs and movies they’re allowed to watch). It’s as simple as that, and it’s no different than a young person, beaten as a child, who grows up to beat his own children. This is learned behavior, it becomes the norm, and it’s one of the bigger problems facing our society; this hand-me-down, this-is-how-we-do-it mentality.
Back in the proverbial day, it meant getting your mouth washed out with soap. Now? Now it’s largely ignored.
Which is more abusive in the long run, do you think?
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