Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Amanda Lamb: Words matter

Posted September 13, 2015

How are we going to teach our children compassion when we spend so much time as adults beating each other up online? How are we going to teach them that what they write and say matters because it is a reflection of their character?

It’s gotten to the point where I just skim so many of the comments on social media because I can’t believe people are saying, what they say out loud in a public forum for all the world to see. We don’t need censors, we need someone’s mama to come and wash all of their mouths out with soap.

I’ve even tried to be more open-minded about it, accepting colloquialisms on Twitter for example that I would never say or write, but an entire generation has deemed appropriate. So, with all of this trash talk, and folks believe me, I do mean trash talk, how do we set a good example for our children? It's coming at us, and at them, from every angle, every platform, in every form of communication. And ultimately, as a writer, I believe a society is judged in many ways by how we speak to one another. Somewhere along the way we have lost the ability to have diplomatic discourse free of profanity, threats and just plain ugliness.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in pop music. A few weeks ago, one of my daughter’s favorite recording artists released a new album. I didn’t know much about him, but I had bopped along more than once to a few of his hits on the radio, and knew he was a pretty big deal.

She immediately started playing the new songs in the car on the way to school one morning, and I couldn’t believe my ears. Not only was every other word profane, but what he was describing amounted to at the very least the complete degradation of a woman, if not a sex crime. I couldn’t turn it off fast enough. And believe me, I’m not a prude, but I just couldn’t understand how this was considered art, in the same way I can’t understand how people throw around f-bombs and a few other choice words on their social media profiles like they’re talking in a prison cafeteria instead of online to potentially thousands of people.

So, in short folks, we need to clean up our acts if we want the next generation to speak with any kind of compassion, diplomacy, not to mention in full sentences with proper grammar. I don’t have any great suggestion for how to get there except for leading by example. I will begin right now.

Here’s what I would like to say to every negative comment on social media:

“I respect your opinion, even when I disagree with it. I respect your right to have an opinion that differs from mine. You don’t have to be wrong for me to be right, and conversely, I don’t have to be wrong for you to be right. I can agree to disagree with you and still like you. Let’s all try to get along. It will make the world a better place, and our children will be better people as a result. I promise.”

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.

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