The Power of Profanity

I was in sixth grade the first time I slipped.

In sixth grade, the bad kids whispered profanity from their desk when the teacher announced a pop-quiz and moved out of ear-shot. In the white-noise of our lunchroom, they shouted it behind the back of our cafeteria monitor. In the halls, an expletive timed with the slam of a locker door covered their indiscretion. It was a tool meant to create shock value — for attention. I cowered in fear and awe of their blatant disregard for authority.

By sixth grade, my mother had taught me the meaning of words matter, and I knew that cursing was just that, a curse. I’d also read the definition in the dictionary, “To show irreverence to God.” So I tried not to think, much less speak, vulgarity.

But kids being kids, some of them noticed, and started making fun of my “goody-too-shoes” speech.

I felt humiliated, and as their taunts grew, so did my shame. Then, one day in science class, our teacher stepped out. I took a deep breath, intentionally knocked my text-book on the floor, and just above a whisper, cursed.

Immediately, I cringed, waiting for the lightning strike. But nothing dramatic happened, except three of the cool kids rushed over. One of the boys slapped my shoulder, “Goody-too-shoes isn’t so good after all.” I took note of the respect tingeing his voice.

I changed that day, a level of acceptance from my peers allowed me to become one of them. Over time, cursing moved from my own attention-getting tool, into a habit I stopped noticing. It became part of who I was.

The workplace often feels like sixth grade. And I carried my ugly habit with me, until,….

Well, I’ve talked enough for one day. We’ll have to pick this up later.

Anita FreshFaith@ Work

Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Expert, Certified Personality Trainer, Communications Specialist, speaker, and writer. She lives in Missouri.

Contact her via or

Psalm 109:18

New International Version (NIV)

He wore cursing as his garment; it entered into his body like water, into his bones like oil.


One response to this post.

  1. Big problem in the world today!!! Good word.


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