Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Proper. Proper. Proper. Language and Vocabulary in Primary Part I.

I'm going to make a point. It will be a good point, hopefully. For this point to really come alive though and make sense I will need to refer to Cranford, a PBS Masterpiece Theatre program that aired in April 2008 and can be checked out at your local library.

Cranford is a small town in England and the time 1840. Women are proper. Women have manners. Women are dignified.

My husband who wears dreadlocks and thinks Vin Diesel is awesome... cough cough... watched this Cranford series with me and loved it. I loved it. It made me want to be more of a "lady".

I have had experiences in Primary and even Sacrament Meetings where language was used that didn't invite the spirit. I would like to throw out a couple of questions for you to ponder:

1. At the last General Conference did you hear an apostle or any other speaker use the word "crap"?

2. Have you ever read an Ensign article where someone said "shut up"?

3. When Alma refers to his persecuting the church or mistakes he has made does he ever use the phrase, "Man, I really screwed up"?

These words in quotation may seem like small words and perhaps they are, pray and judge for yourself. May I suggest that there is a problem though, when those words are used more often than words like "Jesus" or "Savior" or "I bear testimony" in a 2 hour time period.

John S. Gholdston, “Words of Darkness, Words of Light,” Ensign, Jan 1992, 57 says:

" What is it that we should be teaching our children to avoid?

Blasphemy is only one element of the profanity problem that President David O. McKay described as “all too prevalent” in society, and “though we say it with embarrassment, all too frequently used in the Church.” (Improvement Era, Nov. 1948, p. 686.)
Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained that profanity “embraces any language that shows contempt for holy things, that breathes a spirit of irreverence or blasphemy, or that is vulgar in nature, thus leaving a mental impression of unclean and unwholesome things. Profanity,” he emphasized, “is an evidence of a diseased soul.” (“Profanity,” Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, Inc., 1966, p. 602.)

We know that the brain controls what words are spoken, but when we or our children allow a profanity to find a place in our vocabularies, the profanity, and not the brain, often seems to be in control. Profanity is a cyclic problem. The Spirit of the Lord withdraws from the presence of profanity, leaving the user with no spiritual guidance. Consequently the profanity may increase. (See Ensign, May 1986, p. 51.)

We must work closely and carefully with our children to help them choose to avoid that cycle or break the cycle if they have already begun. We cannot keep them from ever being exposed to bad language, but we can keep much of it at arm’s length. Our care in making the effort, if we do it in the right spirit, can have a positive effect as our children realize how important we consider the matter to be." End quote.

Now I'm not calling the people who use mildly crude language lepers. Elder McConkie is. So if you're offended, take it up with him in heaven. My point is WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE. It's simple.

We should be more like the ladies of Cranford. I leave you with their reaction to the word "suck" which I also believe should not be used at church.

[Mary has brought oranges as a present for Matty and Deborah]
Miss Deborah Jenkyns: I would prefer it if I did not enjoy oranges. Consuming them is a most incommodious business.
Miss Matty Jenkyns: There is not such a lot of juice, Deborah dear - only when they are sliced with a knife.
Mary Smith: At home we make a little hole in our oranges and we suck them. [Deborah looks horrified]
Miss Matty Jenkyns: That is the way I like to take them best, but Deborah says it is vulgar and altogether too redolent of a ritual undertaken by little babies. My sister does not care for the expression [whispers]
Miss Matty Jenkyns: "suck".
Miss Deborah Jenkyns: [primly] We will repair to our rooms... and consume our fruit in solitude. [embarrassed, Deborah gets up and leaves the table]


Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

David Christensen Family said...

Hello Sofia. You don't know me, but I have come across your posts on a couple of occasions while searching online for ideas for my nursery class. I am a mother of three young children in Idaho and I appreicate your straightforwardness. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your stalwart example on the internet. Thank you for sharing your honest ideals and seeking things lovely and praiseworthy! From a friend in the gospel.

East Meets West said...

Well said.

Michelle said...

I absolutely LOVED that part of Cranford.
One time as I was escorting some Valiant 12 boys to the bathroom and heard that word from one of them, I said sweetly, "Now, now. Only vacuum cleaners suck."
He Looked at me. . . and smiled.
I love your blog, by the way. I still read it, even though I was released from Primary several months ago. :)

Sofia's Primary Ideas said...

Sister Tami- Thank you! I wasn't sure if I was being too "forward", but I'd rather be clear than not.

Sister Christensen- What a nice and lovely person you are! Thank you so much!

Sister East Meets West- Thank-you!

Sister Michelle- You are an amazing person! That is a great phrase and I look forward to using it. :) Thanks for being so kind!

essays writing services UK said...

Definitely Tami, this would be a wonderful thought about primary students that they must learn English with good vocabularies. Thanks and keep sharing continuously.