Sunday, October 3, 2010

Does Cursing Really Matter?

"Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little." - Tom Stoppard, Famous British Playwright

At the start of each school year, I begin with a mini-unit entitled "The Power of Words."

As an English Teacher, this makes sense.

One of the components I include is the power of both positive and negative words on our lives. Over the years, I have I refined this, and in the last three years, I have included a note directly targeted to profanity and cursing.

The issue of cursing is a hot topic for teenagers. Many of them equate being "more adult, mature, and grown up" with cursing.

My job as a lover of words is to get them to rethink this logic, so I teach on this. I tell them that cursing and using profanity is "too low" for them. I liken the continued and repeated use of profanity with nothing more than what a baby does when he or she says "Goo-goo, Ga-ga" all the time. This illustration challenges their way of thinking that cursing is so "grown up" and mature. I hope that when someone curses all they see is a big baby with a pacifier going "Goo-goo, Ga-ga." Using this imagery sometimes makes students angry or perplexed, but I WANT to challenge their thinking. I WANT them to camp on the idea for awhile and process it for themselves. I know if they get angry or confused, they are responding to the example. I want to challenge their choices, and I want them to create more choice in their life.

When a person reaches for the same few curse words all the time, he or she is completely limiting and inhibiting the ability to explain one's feelings, emotions, and needs. Why not use a more detailed and richer vocabulary word instead?

Students love the thought of becoming millionaires, so I draw from statistics that show that one's quantity and quality of vocabulary directly correlate to life-time earnings. I explain this to them as vocabulary is directly related to "money in your pocket." How many young people don't want to think about putting more money in their pockets? Oh, yeah. :)

Several of this year's students are VERY inquisitive and a bit defensive about their perceived "right" to curse. Students are not allowed to curse in school or in class, so they are not cursing in my presence or they will get a Referral and Detention, but it would be naive of me to think that many students do not curse. This week in class several asked me about their First Amendment right to freedom of speech. In school, cursing is not covered, just like talking about guns or bombs going through a Security Checkpoint is not covered. Speech that does harm is not covered. Cursing is disruptive in a classroom. Of course, no police officer is going to arrest a teenager for cursing outside of school, but they have been known to warn excessive public cursers about disorderly conduct.

There is also another aspect to this debate. Many parents of these students curse and allow their children to curse at home or in public. I REALLY struggle with this, but I also think that the parents may or may not be educated about the real influence of cursing on their children. These students who live with prolific cursing are likely to come to school and "slip" in class. We need parents to help their children realize that cursing is just "too low" for their children. Would a parent want a baby or child to "come out" cursing? Of course not. Please don't encourage or ignore this in your teenagers.

Curse words DO NOT make someone more mature or tough. Not at all. Why not use a different word richer in meaning?

That is what reflects maturity and a greater expanse of choice.
"To swear is neither brave, polite, or wise." - Alexander Pope, Famous 18th Century English Poet
"Be careful of your words, for they become your thoughts. Be careful of your thoughts, for they become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for they become your character. Be careful of your character, for it becomes your destiny." - Anonymous

I hope you think about this and develop your own thoughts.
I would love to hear them here if you want to share.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Words. Writing. Words.

Storyline/Living a Better Story Writers' Conference
Portland, Oregon
Sept. 26-27, 2010

He helped himself to some of my popcorn.

Oh, yes.


The picture to the left shows Author Donald Miller (BLUE LIKE JAZZ, etc.) with Hollywood Director Brandon Dickerson and Conference Essay/Story Contest Winner Lori.

What a treat it was to go to this writers' conference! After sixteen years of teaching English, I have never been to a "real" writers' conference. I've attended state, district, and national educational seminars, and I even got to participate in a half-day Barry Lane Educators' Writing Seminar, but this was my first time attending a writers' conference for the sheer pleasure of writing and learning more about writing.

The conference was based on Don Miller's 2009 book A MILLION MILES IN A THOUSAND YEARS which takes the form of the plot elements to frame his essays.

The conference was way too short (day and a half) and the trip from the East Coast to the West Coast and back too long, but I cannot even begin to completely comprehend and realize all the ways that God deposited into me on this trip. I made some fabulous connections and new friends and took some insightful notes.

I want to wax more poetically on the subject, but right now, I only have time for these few words, but these few words will suffice for now.

As Don Miller said, I'll "put more plot on the story" when I get more time.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

"On the Ocean" - My Summer Song

It, of course, has been awhile since I last posted here. That statement has been a reoccurring once-a-year mantra for my time writing on Blogger, but I have been on Facebook and enjoying it.

I just want to take a moment to embed this K'Jon video of his new song "On the Ocean." I simply love this song.

For me, it is more about hope than the literal meaning of the words and story-line in the song, but since I live by the ocean, it does have a certain literal quality too.

It's a beautiful song to me, and it summarizes my summer as well as the hope that I feel Jesus dropping into my spirit in the last two months.

Blessings to you, and may you have your own "On the Ocean" moment!

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I took these pictures on the beach yesterday. Lovely, aren't they? It really was that beautiful!

It has been exactly six months since I last posted here.

That is how busy I have been.

Three lesson preparations at school. (Whew!) Lots of students. Lots of work. Several school awards and even national recognition. I was even featured on two school documentaries.

I feel blessed with my career and work even if it is difficult.

Busy has also translated into tough economy. Tough finances. Although not me thus far (Praise God!), lay-offs are occurring in our school district.

The tough financial aspect isn't new. I have written about that here. The IRS said I had underpaid taxes for 2007, so I spent my whole summer working three jobs to cover the bill to them. You've got to pay the IRS. I also have my medical expenses and bills related to the diabetes. It's like having a child to raise and pay for. I have no children otherwise.

I think I am under some kind of financial curse. I would really like to see it end. End soon.

No matter how I try to get my body up on the ledge of financial security and stability, I seem to slide back into the icy waters of debt, and it's not from any bad habits or excessive spending. That's not me.

It's not from a lack of trying. I have cut out everything. There is nothing else to cut out except my special little dog who I love so much. He brings me great joy. I don't want to lose him.

I eat a lot of tuna. I drive a car that has only one setting on the fan currently. It is also leaking anti-freeze. My dashboard is coming up.

Despite all these things, I know that God is looking out for me. Somehow all this is going to work out. I believe that to be so.

There will be better days ahead for me financially. I believe that.

Monday, August 4, 2008


"Ahem. Attention please. I'd like to introduce to you to TED."

TED wants to meet you too.

If you've already met TED, then you know the value of the meeting.

Meet TED here.

For those of you who want to cut to the chase right away, TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and it is a consortium and "Brain Trust" of the world's greatest thinkers and innovators in a broad range of fields. Each year great thinkers are asked to give a TED Talk which is an 18 minute speech on their specialty/passion. The results have been pretty amazing.

Here is a highlight reel of the Top 10 TED Talk's from 2006-2008:

I discovered TED while doing some educational research on thinking. It's one of the top websites in the nation, but I had never heard of it before yesterday.

Please note, though: I do not know TED's political leaning, and I do not subscribe to Al Gore's discourse, but I do know that, aside from his talk, the information from the other speakers is fabulous. Don't let your political feelings blur the value of this website. It's about innovation in so many areas, and we all need to be inspired!

You simply MUST check it out:

Sunday, July 6, 2008



I added a free music Playlist to my blog here.

What do you think?

The first song up is one you may not be familiar with, but Misty Edwards is a phenomenal worshipper and psalmist. It takes a few seconds for the song to come up, but it is well worth it to listen.

Another artist I'm loving is Robin Thicke. He is R&B and soul/jazz. He isn't a Christian artist like Misty, but his song "Lost Without You" and his newest album and first song "Magic" are just so very smooth. They go down so nicely. : )

Feel free to link over and make a Playlist for yourself if you like. It's easy and free.

I also have posted a few new pictures of me and Riley on here. Kinda neat, I thought.
I think I've broken a record for number of posts in a short amount of time. That's not usually me. I usually don't post this often. I'll enjoy it while I can. : )

Hope all is well with everyone and that your summer is simply smashing (in a good way!)!

Friday, July 4, 2008


Happy Fourth of July, Everyone!

By the way, I just added three new posts, so feel free to go back a few posts. : )