Can we elevate our standards in speaking, writing and behavior? I believe it is time to do so.
Enough already. Do we really need to talk and write in disrespectful language? Are we able to use proper, positive and respectful language? Can we display appropriately clothed people on magazine covers? (And can we be careful of our own dress, not showing
cleavage in the workplace?) I hope so.
I was in the middle of writing an entirely different blog post this am, when two things caught my attention and I decided to change focus. While the reason for writing this is a direct result of my current experience, it is a subject I have been concerned about for a long time.
I am in a very nice hotel in Ft. Lauderdale, working in the room, and watching the Today
Show. My attention was captured by a song being sung by a group of singers and dancers from the cast of “On the Town,” the Broadway musical, who were performing on the show.
While I am not sure of the exact song title, many times throughout the song the words, “It’s a he_ _ of a time!” were sung. Before hearing the profanity I was thinking I would like to see this show. (In fact, Mike and I are planning to take our 8 and 10 year old granddaughters on a trip to New York soon, and we will be taking them to see a broadway play, but not this one!) And of course these words are used by other performers, and even worse words are used.
Yes, the words, he_ _ and da_ _ are included in profanity, although I realize these words are so liberally used in the media these days that some no longer hear them as such. But let’s not allow ourselves to accept what shouldn’t be acceptable just because it is becoming commonplace.
The second thing that caught my attention and precipitated this blog post was a magazine
with a woman almost naked from the waist up on the cover. Now, this is a magagine that I would never expect to have this type of cover, Golf Digest! Unacceptable. I am not a regular golfer but Mike and I do have a financial interest in a golf course that we frequent quite often, and I have never seen golfers, men or women, so scantily dressed. I viewed the article that related to the magazine cover and found appropriately dressed women throughout. So I suppose the purpose of the cover is to generate interest in purchasing and reading the magazine. It had the opposite effect on me.
Now for my third area of focus about this issue, speakers and writers. I hear some speakers use profanity from the platform, and I am offended by it every time. In fact, when I hear such I lose interest in the rest of that speaker’s message. And yes, the words most commonly used are da_ _ and he_ _ , which I’ve already mentioned is profanity. I also read some articles, Facebook postings and other writings that also include profanity, and the author loses me at that point. I don’t use those words (not that I never have, but I shouldn’t)and I do not want to hear or read them from others.
As a nurse in my first career, I many times heard the Hippocratic Oath; First Do No Harm. Now that I am a speaker and writer, I believe the same applies; First Do No Harm from the platforms from which I now speak and write. When people honor me by listening to and reading my words, I owe them my best. My purpose and my obligation is to inspire others, to be my best with them, to hopefully inspire their best. Do I fail at times by my words and actions, not by the use of profanity, but in other ways? Yes, I have, and will likely again. We are human and will make mistakes.
This message is not for those who make mistakes and wish they could pull those words back. We can all identify with that. Parents feel it when they crush the spirit of their little ones with angry words and they see the damage on those little faces. Managers know it when they say unkind words to a direct report, regardles of the facts, and see the damage they created on the face of an adult who now feels like a chastized child. This message is for those of us who no longer hear or see what was previously inappropriate, including the worst of their own behavior.
Am I a prude? Some will call me such, and maybe worse! Some will wonder why I am (in their opinion) “majoring on the minors” when there are so many other problems I could be addressing. I have some of those same thoughts and questions. And I believe I know the “why.”
We do not become who we are in one moment, whether who we are is positive and inspiring, or degrading and mean. We become who we are by all of the choices we make, and how those choices change us over time. When those choices result in someone we aren’t proud of, we can course correct. It is never too late to become our best if we have the courage to change what we need to change.