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Detonation; Rated PG


John Lehenbauer
Apr 12, 2018
Photographers: John Lehenbauer
Language is an important part of everyday life. We use it to express our thoughts, emotions, ideas, wants, and needs to each other. Humanity’s ability to communicate has continued to evolve through the centuries, with different forms of language being developed based on needs and through innovation. Today, information gets conveyed via techniques such as speaking, writing, hand gestures, and symbolism.
It is generally recognized that the best way to communicate with others is in a civil, proper manner that doesn’t include profanity or insults. This is taught to us early on in school and at home. But life is not always so cut and dry. Though we may be taught correctly, we don’t always grow up in worlds (neighborhoods, surroundings, and such) that speak that way all the time. Many people grow up surrounded by very colorful language, where improper four-letter words and other not-so-appropriate phrases (use your imagination) are part of almost every conversation, which, over time, becomes imbedded in their subconscious mind.
These words become incorporated into everyday conversation to the point that they are not even recognized as being “bad,” which makes using the language so common it becomes hard to turn off. Ultimately, a very conscious effort is required in order to carry on a conversation.
Profanity is normally frowned upon in a professional work environment. Many people get very upset when they hear something they feel is vulgar—even if it is not directed at them. Maintaining a level of professionalism requires using proper language in the workplace, even though for some people that effort may end as soon as the workday is over.
Photo 2/2   |   I think this saying is true.
Why do I bring this up? Well, I find myself in the above situation regularly. I have to be very conscious of what I’m saying and to whom I’m saying it. Dealing with people in a professional manner in the office, on the phone, or in the field requires me to make sure I am in the correct mindset to keep myself from using the wrong words in a conversation. This is important because even though there may not be any intent to insult someone, it is impossible to know if a person will take something you say the wrong way. We are all individuals and don’t always see eye to eye on things, so speaking in a very professional manner is important.
I know I’m not the only one who deals with this. There are others who work in surroundings that require a kinder, gentler vocabulary even though they may normally have the “mouth of a sailor.” It’s just part of the modern work environment and doing business.
I find myself “being good“ most of the time. Working in a professional environment helps, but one conversation can easily throw it all off.
Watching how we talk around kids can be really tough. It is easy to become complacent and not realize what you are saying. Kids are sponges that take in everything adults say, so making sure they know the importance of speaking properly is critical. I make it a point to be on my best behavior around the young ones, and if they do hear less than ideal language, I explain to them why they should not use it.
Heck, even expressing a thought in writing, without using four-letter profanity, can sometimes be challenging.
New words are created and added to our vocabulary constantly. Words that initially enter our vocabulary as slang sometimes become commonly used terms, and words we’ve used for ages can eventually take on different meanings or are dropped from regular use altogether. There is a time and place to use all the words we’ve learned. But, for conversations, making sure we use the most appropriate language is the best way to communicate.


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