Foul Language

As I mentioned earlier, my oldest had (probably still has) a mind like a tape recorder. He has a great talent for repeating what he hears. This is why he has been able to pick up at least two other languages which he speaks fluently, and he’s also working to become hafiz.

But when he was little I saw the danger in his tape-recorder mind. I knew that he would repeat whatever he heard, whether it was good or bad. That’s why I set out early on to shield him and his brothers from foul language.

My husband doesn’t curse. He just doesn’t. I do let an occasional ‘hell’ or ‘damn’ fly when I get really frustrated, and I’m not proud of this, but it happens only a few times a year. So, for the most part, my kids were protected from foul language in the home.

I also closely monitored books and movies for foul language. In our house, nobody saw an R-rated movie until he was at least 17 (with the exception of movies such as Amistad, which shouldn’t have been rated R to begin with). I watched what they watched, read what they read, and tried to keep that foul language out of my sons’ minds.

But once the oldest boys were firmly in their teens that became almost impossible. Even though their friends were all Muslims, I’m sure some of them cursed. And once the boys started working I had no more control over their environment. And the curse words started creeping in.

I always stopped them. And often I talked with them about what the word actually meant. There is one word in particular that is quite popular but so vile I don’t even want to think it, much less say it. I don’t think I’ve ever caught my boys using this word, and I hope they never have, but I still made them think about it. Consider the meaning. It’s not just a string of letters.

Every word we speak means something, and we’re accountable for every word. This is the main message I tried to give to my sons. As far as I know, my three youngest don’t curse–though mothers do not know everything. At this point they are all, all six of them, individually accountable for their actions. I’ve done my job. And I hope they’ve learned well.

All of us need to think about what these words mean. Then stop using them.



About jamilahk

Jamilah Kolocotronis is the mother of six boys. She is also a novelist. Her books focus on family issues.
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2 Responses to Foul Language

  1. Hagar says:

    Did you read all the books and see all the movies they were exposed to? I can’t imagine with six; I have 2 kids and only one is reading. I can barely keep up with her (she’s a bookworm). How did you handle it when your kids *really* wanted to see a movie or read a book that you did not approve of? I’m sometimes afraid the negative attention I’m giving something will do her more harm than good.

    • jamilahk says:

      I saw all the movies and read all the books up to a certain age. Maybe 14 or 15. I know that when my fourth son wanted to read Harry Potter I gave up because the genre simply didn’t interest me. At that point I talked with him about remembering Allah and not believing in magic. Actually, if they wanted to see a movie at the theater I read the reviews–I did that regularly every Friday for years, when the reviews came out in our local paper. Because I was also teaching teenagers at the Islamic school, that also gave me insight into the things they would talk about. How old is your daughter? You could just discuss issues with her and maybe read the synopses of the books so you have a general idea.

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