I realize that not everyone is as concerned with drilling down to the ontological basis of things as I am. That's totally cool. Some people geek out over iPods, some geek out over metaphysics.
(I geek out over both. Ok? Wanna make somethin' of it? You don't wanna mess with me, I have a brother who swings 60+ pound cannonballs over his head before breakfast. He's got my back.)
And while it's nice to have, one neededn't have a well founded epistemological & ontological reason for avoiding cussing. (Or, as Tom Wolfe labels this kind of language usage in I am Charlotte Simmons, "F*** Patois.")
I've been thinking more about the correlation between someone who's a Pro, and their non-usage of foul language. I think I've found it.
What does it take to get your work done like a Pro? What is it that the Pro has that makes them a pleasure to work with, even in really uncomfortable, dirty, messy situations? I imagine that there are a number of different factors, but one which all Pros have is: self-restraint.
Self-restraint means that you do the work that needs to be done, even if you'd much rather be watching TV & eating bon-bons. It's self-restraint that makes a person pleasant to be with, because they're not complaining every second they're in a bad spot.
Not cussing also involves self-restraint. (Duh.) I hope that it becomes second-nature to not cuss, but in part because I hear it all the time, and in part because proper thought-patterns are an ongoing work of God's gracious Spirit in me, it is not currently second-nature to me. Self-restraint, though, that is something with which God has done a good work in me (believe it or not). So the urge arises in me to cuss a blue streak, and I do my best to squash it. Similarly, urges arise in me to smack people upside the head. I also do my best to squash those as well. (Man, that would definitely not be Pro.)
So that's the correlation I see: folks who are Pros already understand and exercise the discipline of self-restraint.
Perhaps that's the flag that Dad talks about. When one comes across foul language, maybe the underlying though is, "Hmmmm. Remarkable little restraint when it comes to language. I wonder where else this person has trouble restraining themselves?"
Now, trying to think Christianly about it: One of the "reasons" I hear young Christians give in why it's fine for them to cuss is that they're beeing "free in Christ."
[I'm going to skip right over the first, most obvious, and most Biblical response: "Shall I go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! I am dead to sin." (Romans 6:1-2)]
And, it's true, they are exercising a certain flaccid kind of freedom, but really what's being demonstrated is a lacking in the Fruit of the Spirit. (May I hasten to add that I demonstrate this lack of development when I am angry and frustrated by circumstances, even if I avoid cussing about it.)
I want to be a Pro in all number of ways and it's nice to be able to draw come points of contact between that and this other, overarching project in my life: being conformed to Christ. (All this thinking, pondering & mulling brought about by one little, off-handed comment made by my friend last week!)