Hey all! Grace here. 🙂
I hope you’re having a lovely February! Can you believe it’s almost Valentine’s Day?! Where in the world did January go? Recently, I started taking a few classes at our new community college, and time has absolutely flown. In fact, today I’d like to share with you a tale about someone I’ve encountered at a class there. Settle in with a cup of coffee, tea, or your warm beverage of choice, ’cause it’s story time with your Auntie Grace. 😉
Our tale starts with a British boy who (for the purposes of this anecdote) will be named Bob. On the first day of biology lab class, I was the first one there, and was sitting at a lab table studying when Bob walked in. We exchanged “good morning”s, and he suddenly piped up,
“You know, you’re very posh.”
Well, call me Miss Platonic, but the way in which he said this didn’t come off as creepy or flirtatious. Besides, there were other people in the room at this point. I just laughed and replied that it’s really all a front—normally I’m a mess (which is true 😉 ). Admittedly, I have been embracing the cold weather as an opportunity to wear ten years’ worth of knitted and crocheted scarves, gloves, and other winter garments that have gone unworn during my life in Florida. I may be getting more matchy-matchy and fancy than usual, which I guess equates to posh. 😉
I didn’t talk to Bob much more until a couple of weeks ago. The four people at each lab table rotate each week, and this particular week, I was sitting with three boys: one from Laos (we’ll call him Jeff), one with glasses (who I could tell was probably a former homeschooler…we’ll call him Steve), and Bob.
About ten minutes or so into the lab (which is three hours long), I realized something dismaying about Bob. He was rather outgoing and friendly, but he cussed and swore like a sailor on steroids. It wasn’t just one or two words when he dropped something—it was every. other. word.
I usually try not to judge or correct people, but the fact was that I was going to need to work with this boy for the next three hours, as well as some time next week before the tables switched again, and probably multiple times throughout the semester. We’re graded on how well we work with people—and to be completely honest, I can’t work well with someone dropping inappropriate little bombs in every sentence.
So, I took a risk.
The next time Bob let out a string of cuss words (which was about three seconds later), I said,
“Hey, language, please!”
Bob didn’t seem mad—just surprised. He asked me why I would say that—and I desperately wanted to pull a Mary Poppins and simply reply that I “never explain anything.”
I don’t actually remember exactly what I said next, but we had just been joking a few minutes earlier about how he’s 25 years old and the rest of us are 17 and 18, so he kind of laughed and said,
“Hey, I’m your elder, you’re not supposed to correct me!”
I only brought it up once more during the entire three hours. Every other time that he swore (which was, of course, a lot), he would catch himself and look at me somewhat guiltily. He poked fun at me (in a good-natured way), too, about my stiff posture, over-preparedness, and old-fashioned hobbies. We still had fun that day, but I could tell that this was probably the first time anyone had ever called attention to his swearing habit.
In fact, at one point, Bob asked the other two people at our table (Jeff and Steve, if you’ll recall) if they use swear words.
Jeff replied positively, although to be honest he’s pretty quiet and I haven’t heard him use them. Steve, on the other hand, laughed nervously and said that he doesn’t swear but he doesn’t mind when other people do.
I have a feeling that Steve is a homeschooler, y’all. I just get a feeling about fellow homeschoolers sometimes. 😉 I do know that like me, he’s dual-enrolled, and that he has many little siblings, so at least he comes from a large family and has obviously been taught not to swear. Jeff, on the other hand, has said little to nothing about his family or home life, but is a pretty quiet person overall who was just going along with what Bob said.
Therefore, at our table, we had varying degrees of compliance with the whole swearing thing: you have Jeff (who was completely willing to agree with Bob), Steve (who has apparently been taught not to cuss but can’t bring himself to say that he doesn’t like it)…and then there’s me.
In fact, I made a bar graph to help you visualize this. What? Graphs are posh. 😉
I’m not at all trying to put myself up on a pedestal as some perfect ideal of a non-swearing person (nobody’s perfect), but on that day, I encountered a rare opportunity to stick up for something I believe in: that swearing is wrong.
That weekend, I was taking some outdoor photos in my recently finished Cinderella costume, and my lovely mum reminded me of one of her favorite pieces of wisdom from the live action Cinderella movie: just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.
Y’all, let’s face it: swearing is “what’s done” for the majority of the world. Even though I’ve never approved of it, I don’t usually say anything about it, either—it’s just too easy to worry what people think. Sadly, we live in a society where seeming cool, trendy, or tough often causes us to compromise what we believe in, and that was what I saw in Steve that day, especially.
Am I saying that you should call out every single person you hear use a cuss word once or twice? Not at all. Personally, I feel like that can quickly put up a wall between you and the other person, and you might never get to be a light for Christ in their lives if they block you out because you were too rude or judgy at the start. Always feel out the situation first—I felt like Bob wasn’t the type to get angry at me, and I was able to say it in a nice way, so that it didn’t cut off our interaction completely.
What I am saying is that you don’t need to worry about what people think so much that you compromise your values. If the situation seems right, don’t let fear hold you back. And if you’re labeled as a goody two-shoes because of this, good for you! If people know not to say or do inappropriate things around you, I’d say that’s a great thing. Putting it on the table that you’re a clean-cut person could save you from more sticky situations down the road. After all, swearing might come first, but what worldly habit might be next? In James 4:17, the Bible says that:
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
In my situation, I felt like it would be sinful to stay silent and thereby approve of three hours’ worth (and an entire semester) of swearing. I’m by no means perfect—often, I fall into the “coolness” trap, too. It’s so easy to do, but in this particular situation it was obvious that swearing uncontrollably whilst calmly combining iodine and starch in test tubes and casually discussing chocolate (I’m serious, that’s what we were talking about) wasn’t cool.
But back to Bob…last week, I saw him again, and I noticed three things. First, he seemed a lot nicer and less cynical overall. Second, he didn’t cuss nearly as much, at least not around me. Third, he had worked really hard on his homework assignment and was proud to show me.
Of course, I have no idea if any of that was because of me—possibly not. I have no idea if my calling him out on his swearing planted a seed in his mind, or made him wonder why I don’t approve. If he ever asks me again why I don’t like cussing, I know what I’ll say, though.
Bottom line: swearing is a lose-lose. Somehow, it’s become a socially acceptable way to have a little temper tantrum, and it only serves to bring down you and those around you. Cuss words are empty—they have nothing to benefit anyone—not to mention that they all have extremely inappropriate meanings.
So, now three boys in my biology lab probably think I’m a posh, uptight, fogey who studies too much…
…and I love it. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. If they paid attention at all, they also know that I’m willing to be a listener or help with homework if I can. I’ve always got extra candy and gum in my purse if you need a pick-me-up, and I’ll always laugh at your puns, no matter how corny. I’m making the decision to embrace my “posh” label, and I don’t care one bit about being cool or trendy.
If you’re going through a situation where you’re debating whether to stand up for Biblical morals or not, I want to encourage you to stay strong. Your situation might be a lot more serious than a few kids in a biology class—and I totally get that. Just keep in mind—no matter how high the stakes are, you’re a light for Christ and you have the opportunity to blaze brightly or to fizzle out. “What’s done” could be absolutely anything, but I remind you that nothing says it’s what should be done.
And by the way…standing up for Biblical morals is probably the poshest thing I can think of, so allow me to give you a virtual hug, my fellow posh princesses. 😉 ❤