On Being Nasty

My teenage years were pretty cringe-worthy. Although I wasn’t getting arrested or acting particularly promiscuous, I dabbled in and out of the wrong crowd and seemed to constantly be in some trouble at home. As awe-inspiring as it would be to have a testimony that told of me overcoming a terrible drug addiction, I was simply punished for being nasty. Over and over again.

I was the kid that got soap in my mouth as a youngin’ and went quite a few weeks (or months) without a cell phone, AIM (remember that?!), or sleepovers. All due to not being able to keep my big mouth shut. The obvious victims were, of course, my parents, and Lord help me if they ever witnessed it toward anybody else. I was taught to treat others with kindness and respect because anything else would be, well, nasty. This also went for my attitude. My mom’s motto of “attitude of gratitude” was drilled  ‘reinforced’ into my head time and time again. Now that I am an adult with children of my own, I am realizing just how important it is to be kind, or at the very least, civil, to others, regardless of your own feelings or circumstances. We parents are charged with being the first and most important educator of our children. Their little minds are ours for molding! Scary—but also sanctifying.

This is why I am utterly confused as to why people, particularly women, are so proud of being called“nasty”. It was wrong when President Trump said those words a few months ago.  But is it right for millions of women to proudly identify as such today? This is not about whether or not you voted for the man who is now our President, nor is it about your sociopolitical views.  This is about how we view ourselves as women—mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, and most importantly, children of God. Last I checked, I don’t remember being nasty as a fruit of the Spirit…  Now that our first child is getting older, my husband and I are constantly holding each other accountable for the language and tone that is used in our home. For us being immersed in military culture, always using tactful language is not easy! But we also know that our tone and words will be quickly picked up by a soon-to-be toddler.

Nasty is a word my parents called me when I was being naughty, it is a word my husband called me while going on a hormonal rant. Those times made me feel ugly from the inside out, and if we’re being honest, warranted an apology. It was not that I was necessarily being nasty towards those people, but more being hateful in my speech, gossiping about others, or speaking on something I frankly had no right to speak on. It made my audience feel just as ugly and left us all in sour moods. The children in our home will be reprimanded for nasty speech or a distasteful tone. I have seen families who have parented this way and families who haven’t, and I’ve seen the wonderful or disastrous results of each.

Whatever leaves our lips is the offspring of what is hiding in our hearts. My husband and I learned that in order to kick our potty-mouth habits, we need to weed out our hearts a bit. That’s neither easy nor fun, but a small price to pay for becoming the parents (and people!) we WANT to be. Shrugging our shoulders and saying, ‘I’m just a/an [insert negative adjective here] guy/gal’ is a slap in the face to our humanness. We are born with the ability to change, thanks be to God! But not without some heavy lifting on our part. I am certain women on both sides of the political spectrum can still advocate for the changes they desire to see without being labeled as nasty. But to get rid of the label, stop acting like it.

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