In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 16, 2005 / 12 Elul, 5765

Mother swears there will be no more cussing

By Marybeth Hicks

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The canopy of cool, green leaves overhead offered a welcome umbrella from the late afternoon sun. I stood against a tree waiting to cheer on my two high school runners as they competed in their first cross-country meet of the season.

Then, emerging from a well-worn dirt path came two teenage idiots.

This probably sounds judgmental. I try hard not to make sweeping generalizations about people. So I wasn't about to draw any unfair conclusions about them just because they looked scruffy, had cigarettes dangling from their lips and soft-pack coolers slung over their shoulders.

In fact, I didn't just judge these boys by their appearance, or because they were playing "disk golf" — a game that looks a lot like "hit a tree with a Frisbee" — while, all around them, more than 100 other teens exuded health and fitness by participating in a 3.1-mile running race.

The basis of my conclusion was this: The teen "disk golfers" emerged onto the path in the woods to play the next "hole" of their game. Just before they could fling a disk toward its target, the crowd of spectators yelled "runners" to clear the path — and keep the golfer-teens from being trampled by a herd of approaching racers.

Apparently this annoyed said "golfers" because they shouted back something about it being a public park, and their retort included an expletive heard most often in rap and hip-hop music and sometimes in the halls of Congress.

Did I mention there were children lining the path to cheer on their older siblings? And grandparents? And others who find it uncomfortable, at best, when people drop an obscenity in public, loudly enough to reverberate through the trees and create a verbal mushroom cloud billowing upward toward the heavens?

It seemed all of us shook our heads in unison at the selfish, uncouth behavior. I thought to myself, "Idiots." Thankfully, at about this moment the first of the cross-country runners appeared from around the bend. If there was more swearing, it was drowned out by the enthusiastic screams of support from the families and friends of the racers.

It's not that I'm a prude about cuss words. In fact, I've given up swearing for Lent on more than one occasion and found myself confessing my shortcomings several times before Easter. I have several friends whose self-control in this area requires me to ask myself, "What in the hell is wrong with me?" I give myself credit for at least recognizing refined behavior when I see it — in others.

But there's swearing and then there's shouting vulgarities in the woods, loudly, in front of families and strangers. It's a moment that begs the question, what is wrong with our culture when we aren't surprised to hear such language?

Of course, it isn't just foul words that pepper public communication with unpleasantness. Case in point: The Sunday we spent this summer at a minor-league baseball park, where the teens behind us debated — and I'm not making this up — the relative pain levels of getting tattoos in sensitive places or having a navel repierced after childbirth or labor and delivery itself.

I could only thank my lucky stars the young man engaged in the argument had never experienced a kidney stone. There wasn't much I could do to shield my young son and daughter from the graphic descriptions of needle placements, not to mention the uncreative (four-letter) vocabulary used to describe the comparative degrees of pain.

After attempting to engage my children in some diversionary conversation ("How about that pitch — pretty fast, huh?"), I decided this was a problem I could solve by spending money. We took a break from the game to buy snacks and then moved away to some empty seats for a different view of the diamond.

The language issue heats up for me as my son has started sixth grade — a time when all boys may not become men, but at least they can pretend they're manly by echoing the blue vocabulary heard in locker rooms all across America.

I know the pressure to blurt out the occasional four-letter word will be intense. Already he uses some familiar stand-ins for cuss words, prompting me to raise an eyebrow and remind him to be careful.

If nothing else, the explosive language I heard from the "disk golfer" reminded me why it's important to teach my son that regardless of the messages our culture sends about casual cussing, it's still offensive and thoughtless. Swearing inappropriately — not to mention brash guttural outbursts — will cause people to conclude he's an idiot.

Of course, there are many more reasons to reassert a more respectable vocabulary than simply to avoid making a bad impression. Careful speech is a way to demonstrate respect for those around us. Worse, constant cussing seems to promote a coarse and caustic attitude.

After all, if you can mindlessly curse and flip someone the finger on the highway, why not run him off the road? Outrage becomes road rage absent self-control. When you think about it, cuss words are just words, easily replaced with more colorful, descriptive choices for self-expression. I can't help but think that if those teens in the woods had shouted something like "Oppressive health fanatics," I would at least have thought they were articulate, even if they were scruffy-looking "disk golfers."

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JWR contributor Marybeth Hicks, a wife of 18 years and mother of four children, lives in the Midwest. She uses her column to share her perspective on issues and experiences that shape families nationwide. To comment, please click here.


© 2005, Marybeth Hicks