Adults seem to take for granted that being crude is part of the nature of boys. “Let boys be boys,” they say. Let them make jokes about body functions and use crass language. We can’t expect them to be careful in their speech. Well, here’s news for all of you: I am raising four masculine boys and I don’t allow them to speak or act crudely. And they don’t!
The other day, D (nearing 12), brought up the subject of crude talk. Some of his friends have always been looser in their talk than we allow here. As he gets older, the tongues of many of his friends are getting worse. Was I being too strict? He wanted to know.
Here are some of the reasons I gave him for our rules against being crude:
1. We are not beasts
Unlike lower animals, humans have reason. We can regulate our behavior. We are not subject to impulses. We should be raising our eyes to Heaven, not lowering them to earth. We should speak about the higher things in life.
2. The saints are not crude
If we’re raising our kids to be saints, why would we allow them to form habits that will hinder them later? If they will later have to overcome bad habits of speech, why not make their way smoother by helping them resist forming such habits in the first place?
3. Controlling our tongues keeps us from sin
A person with a crude tongue as a kid is going to have a hard time not slipping into obscenity and profanity as he grows older. Learning to bite our tongues before we say something crude forces us to think before we speak. That habit can help us avoid gossip, suggestive talk, lies, and backtalk.
Is it a sin to talk crudely? Most of the time it isn’t. But if we want to be holy, we also have to avoid the near occasions of sin. We have to work on our attachments and imperfections as well. Crude talk is certainly an imperfection. So we do our best to avoid it in our house.
For more on a related subject, read my post on Raising boys to be men–not beasts.
Share with us: What rules does your family have about things that are not strictly sinful? How have they helped you raise your children in godliness?