Four months ago we moved into a lovely house in a beautiful neighborhood. We love the house. We love how close it is to everything the children want to do. We love the neighborhood itself. We're not so crazy about the neighborhood kids. I'm learning a lot about other people's children.
In our old neighborhood, there were very few children and most of the residents were past retirement age. The kids got bored and there was never anyone to play with but each other...and all the other complaints that children can invent.
When we looked for a new house, we specifically looked for a family friendly area with lots of swingsets in the backyard. I'm rethinking that.
We have been spoiled by our children's friends. For the most part, they are incredibly kind, articulate, polite and respectful. They all call me Mrs. F____ and are tolerant of little brothers and sisters. That's right. Our homeschooled children hang out with other homeschooled children. I don't pick their friends for them, but I do carefully select the pool from which those friends can come. Until now.
Now we have children in every house around us, and they aren't the polite children we know. They are rude and disrespectful and have vile vocabularies. We caught two of the boys from our area in a cussing contest last Saturday that included such gems as "c--- sucker" and "b--- licker." The boys are 8 and 9 years old. I've told their parents. The parents don't care. They informed me that all children say bad words; they pick them up at school. They have to pick their battles, you know, and foul language with each other isn't one of them. If it were in an "inappropriate place", like in front of grandma, then they would say something, but boys will be boys. How about in an inappropriate place like in front of my children? Why is your grandma entitled to a greater level of respect than my family?
My sons have two fewer playmates today. We don't hang out with people who talk like this. Luckily for us, #2 and #3 were horrified enough by the language to have decided that boys who talk this way weren't nice kids. We have protected them, you see. We have purposely sheltered them from such talk because we don't want them to be comfortable with it. We don't want them to be so familiar with filth that they can't even recognize it any longer. These boys in our neighborhood are so used to filth that they are numb to it. This is what we so desperately want to avoid with our own children.
We want them to still be shocked by vulgarity. We want them to know instantly that something is not appropriate and that being inappropriate means that it should be avoided, not that it's funny. This is why we homeschool, because we seek to preserve the wonderful people that they are and not the people the world seeks to make of them.