Listen to What the Children Say

January 5, 2015

By Bob Cox

Some opinions, comments and links relating to what is happening in this great nation and, in particular, in Western Colorado.


About the time I was preparing to graduate from high school Henson Cargill came out with a hit single entitled Skip a Rope. The song had some deep meaning and was especially poignant for many of us who were coming of age in a time of war, racial tensions and government mistrust. Sounds an awful lot like today’s world, but why?

Cargill’s song, which was written by Glenn D. Tubbs and Jack Moran, offered the advice “Listen to the children and what they say…” The admonition is as good today as it was in 1967. What we say and what we do has a direct affect on what our children, and therefore their children, say and do.

I have friends who routinely use what once was considered absolutely vulgar words during their conversations in a public forum, and I must confess that I allow one or two of those words to slip now and then, but never in the presence of ladies or children. That was part of my upbringing.

I do not find it surprising when I hear teen aged girls using four letter words that were once used only by men in the presence of other men. Just listen to what the children say and trace it back one generation. The answer to the problem may be right there.

Racial slurs are also still used by people who seem to think it is okay, both to use the slur in the first place and also to do so in a public forum, regardless of who is there to hear their narrow-minded utterances. Sadly, they are often answered with chuckles that can only reinforce the slurs; and the children listen and repeat what they hear. Just listen to the children.

Some time back I received a letter from a couple who were subjected to some loud, boisterous and profane language in a setting in which the behavior was once not only discouraged, but also specifically prohibited. According to their account, there were both young people and ladies present at the time, but the males engaged in the activity seemed oblivious to anything except their jovial attitude. I thought one paragraph, in which the writer was referring to some advice he once received from a mentor, was extremely well worded:

…profane words are fillers equivalent to useless trash. He also said that if a person uses profanity numerous times when talking to you, say 20 percent of the time, you are only getting 80 percent of the real content. Furthermore, with the extensive volume of words in language and the realization that we have an opportunity to utilize them instead of using fillers, it may lead one to assume that it’s a lack of knowledge of the words available for alternatives.

There is little doubt that the perpetrators of this escapade alienated a nice couple from further patronage. “…ain’t it kind of funny what the children say…”

Maybe we should all revisit those words sung my Cargill and many others after him. Maybe we should really listen to what the children say and why they say it. Maybe, just maybe, it is not the children’s fault. And, maybe just maybe, we could stop a lot of the problem by just cleaning up our own act and letting our children hear and see us doing just that.

Remember, I only send out these missives to those who have asked for them. I do not share your email addresses with anyone and I use the Reagan email precisely because they don’t share or sell the addresses either. If you are getting this because someone forwarded it to you and you don’t want it, tell him or her not to forward any more. On the other hand, if you received a copy and would like to see more of my ranting, simply drop me a line at I will put you on my exclusive, but growing list.


© Robert R. Cox 2014





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