Someone who reads this blog AND knows me in real life asked me recently if I’d ever actually asked someone not to use “the r word” around me.
The simple answer is yes, but I think it’s more complicated than that. Sometimes I correct people and sometimes I don’t. And now, sadly, I’m going to share how I handle this topic. I am SURE some of you will disagree, and I look forward to hearing how you handle these situations:
As an adult, when I’m interacting with my peers–other adults–I don’t correct their language or grammar. I figure that at this point, you’re going to do what you want to do and change needs to come from within.
What I do think I have a right to comment on is the language used around my child. Just like I wouldn’t mind asking someone not to use the F-word around Charlie, I also feel comfortable saying, “we don’t like to use that word around Charlie.” I usually follow it up with a comment about how Charlie or his classmates might one day have that word used against them.
After that, I don’t keep harping on it. Instead, I make a slightly-melodramatic-grimace the next time they use it. It may be a little over the top, but I figure I’m getting my point across.
There are, of course, other situations where I might chide someone on Twitter or Facebook–people I know, people I am comfortable with. It’s not a perfect situation. It’s not even clear cut. I would say without hesitation that some of Charlie’s biggest supporters–people who get down on the ground and play with him, love him, and have embraced him as a part of our their lives–are the same people who dropped the r-word without a second thought. I think it’s a give and take. Are their hearts in the right place? Absolutely. Their mouths? Not always. I can only hope that knowing Charlie and our family and reading this blog will help people know that it’s an ugly word that needs to be left in the past.
That’s how I handle it–how about you guys?