My 15-year-old daughter just won the “Clean Mouth Award.” And no, this is not an award given out by her dentist or orthodontist for her exceptionally clean teeth or fresh breath. No, this award was given to her by her cross-country teammates at their annual banquet.
The team captains come up with a fun/funny award for every girl on the team, and out of all 45 girls, she received the “Clean Mouth Award.” And I have to say, thumbs up, baby!
My daughter started noticing back in middle school, that swearing was becoming vogue. The “cool” way to talk. At that point she made a decision, a promise to herself, that she would not swear. Her friends teased her about it (and still do), but she has held strong despite the peer pressure.
When I was in high school, kids would swear a bit. You’d catch words here and there, sprinkled throughout conversations. But it wasn’t nearly as prevalent as it is today. The group my daughter hangs out with are sweet, polite and friendly. They are good students, some of the brightest and the best …and they swear like sailors. (No offense meant to any nonswearing sailors, it’s just an expression!)
I was blissfully unaware of this new teenage talk trend until I recently came across a piece of paper that my daughter left lying on the kitchen counter. It was a note written to her by a couple of her friends. Just some goofy cartoon drawings and inside jokes that she and her friends share. But as I scanned the page, my mouth fell open. When my daughter arrived home, I handed it to her.
“Is this really the way your friends talk?” I asked.
“Yes,” she blushed.
“Wow! Then I give you even more credit for the stand you’ve taken than I originally did.”
I was impressed. It would be easy to just fall in with the crowd; especially being surrounded by it all day. I’m not so certain that at the same age, I would have had the strength of spirit to stand up in the face of such a powerful trend and said “nope--not doin’ it,” the way she has.
That kind of strength in one so young is inspirational to me. I’ve always believed we have something to learn from everyone we meet. And my kids are teaching me new things all the time. So here’s one more lesson to add. There’s that part in the Bible that talks about the balancing act of being “in the world” but not “of the world.” As far as I’m concerned, what an awesome start.