The Energizer

Resilient Insights for Work & Life

Profound Words Beat Profanity

by Eileen McDargh, Chief Energy Officer - Monday, September 18, 2017
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I’m throwing down the foul flag. The use of profanity and sexuality explicit words must go. It is a mockery of intelligence to think that such low level language carries greater weight than words of substance and thought. We call them four-letter words because they require little education. I would say they are used by fourth graders but that would be an insult to nine year-olds.

Years ago, I’d get to my office at Amelia Island Plantation in Florida very early. It was the best time to prepare for the work ahead. Every morning, two of the fourth-grade boys waiting for the school bus would come into my office to chatter away.  On this particular morning, they came in quite agitated.

“Quick, Eileen. Teach us some bad words. The kids at the bus stop are using them and we don’t know many!”

“Hey kids—it takes zero intelligence to use bad words. What if I teach you BIG words that actually means something and will confuse the heck out of your tormentors?”

My little friends high-fived each other and waited for my instructions.

Here is what I told them to say:  “Your bellicose verbiage and outlandish diatribe speaks volumes about your potential IQ.It might be time to reconsider what you are spewing.”

I explained what it meant and they repeated the words until they had them memorized.  I told them to state the sentences and then just walk away from the bullies.

The next morning, they ran in full of glee, telling me it worked and that the bullies were scratching their heads. I couldn’t help but remember a great Dorothy Parker line, “In a battle of wits, I never argue with an unarmed man.”

So, two points here: first, if you have no clue as to what I taught my nine year-olds to say, best start boning up. But second, do not accept the language that is streaming at us. Register your strong disapproval—whether in written or in verbal form. Insist that you will not tolerate or listen to such foul words. If they work for someone, write their manager. If you know the parent, tell the parent.

It would do ALL of us a world of good to hear profound thoughts instead of profane.

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Eileen McDargh Keynote Speaker Blog Author

About Eileen!

Since beginning her consulting and training practice in 1980, Eileen has become noted for her ability to speak the truth with clarity, wisdom, humor and compassion. Long-standing clients and repeat engagements attest to her commitment to make a difference in minds, hearts and spirits of organizations and individuals. She draws upon practical business know-how, life's experiences and years of consulting to major national and international organizations that have ranged from global pharmaceuticals to the US Armed Forces, from health care associations to religious institutions. Executive Excellence magazine selected her as one of the top 100 thought leaders in leadership and among the top ten consultant providers of leadership development.

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