For those of you that know me on a not so personal level this might come as a bit of a shock, but...I swear, and much to my humiliation, sometimes like a sailor. Funny thing is, I’m married to a sailor who NEVER curses!
I have, in recent months, realized that the example that I’m setting for my children is one I don’t wish to pass down to the next several generations. I went to confession with a real desire to change. The priest told me to read James 3 in the Bible. Wow! That’s the first time a priest sent me to scriptures for my language. And let me just say, if you too suffer from lack of a clean tongue, please read that tiny chapter! It offers so much. There are nuggets like, “...if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.” (James 3:2) This one “...no human being can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8) And my personal favorite “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.” (James 3:10)
So what to do? STOP! Right? Well let me tell you now that stopping the tongue is the hardest battle I think I fight (not just with language). However, one thing that struck me while I was thinking of this, was how easy it is to turn it off and on. I mean, when I’m in front of certain people, I keep the conversation clean. So this lead me to think, “I know I can stop momentarily, but why is it so difficult to quit the foul language for good?” The main thing is habit. There are some nifty phrases out there that pertain to this. You know like, “Old habits die hard,” or “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” In my initial attempt to kick the bad habit, I was most successful. I went from not knowing or realizing how much I swore, to remembering every ugly word that would come out. Because of that conscious decision, the offensive words were few, and followed by an immediate apology “Oh, I shouldn’t have said that!”
As the time drew on, though, I began to see the habit would sometimes rear its ugly head in a moment of frustration, anxiety, or rage. The initial taking on of so many things seems almost easy...it’s the keeping it up that’s very difficult.
This is why we need the sacraments! Frequent confession and reception of The Holy Eucharist definitely help.
Along with the sacraments, other things to try are:
Casual carelessness- Try to stop using soap-in-your-mouth worthy words when it’s easy. This way you’ll be better able to slow or stop it when it’s not so easy.
Paying for your words- Put out a jar and deposit money in it every time you utter bad words.
“Oh, snap!”- Wear a rubber band around your wrist and snap it when the “old sailor” comes out.
These are just some helpful tips, but really the biggest help is from God and Our Lady! If you can utter (without offense) “My Jesus Mercy!” or “Mama Mary, please help!” you’d be much better off. This is a tricky one, because if there is still a frustrating tone of voice while using these utterances, it could turn into its own bad habit. Better to say nothing than to replace cursing with an offense against God!
Someday I hope to be truly free from this ugliness. Until then, with the help of Our Lord and His Holy Mother, I will continue to put real effort into changing the way I speak.
Faith is wife to Fred, and the mother of their 3 energetic young children. Besides trying to keep up with the demands of being a full time house wife, Faith is homeschooling her oldest child, George. She herself was homeschooled k-12. Faith and her husband reside in Florida, and are lay members of The Home of the Mother.