September 27, 2010
Dear Vice-President Biden,
I respect the sacrifice that you have made of your time to serve your country in a rather thankless job. I understand that being the vice president of the United States must be extremely stressful and difficult.
I would like to share one idea with you. I believe that, as a role model for our nation’s children, it is important not to curse. I recall Charles Barkley’s famous quote when a similar complaint was directed at him, “I am not a role model.” I even appreciated the message that he followed with, that parents and others closer to the children should be the true role models, not a sports star. I’m sure that in the situations that you are in, there are rarely children around and they probably don’t come to mind during your conversations. However, in the position that you hold, children should look to you as a model and a successful guide.
I am a school teacher. (So I can relate to the thankless job.) I realize that I am presenting anecdotal evidence; however, it seems pretty consistent. Having taught sixth grade for a few years, I began to notice a pattern. Children who swear at school seem to demonstrate less regard for their parents, teachers, and education in general. I don’t know what the statistical correlation actually is, but it is there. Students who consistently swear generally perform less well in their studies and have more discipline problems. Interestingly, some of my most difficult students were the ones whose parents didn’t care if they cursed.
Of course, I know you are an adult and have many freedoms that children should not be allowed. We restrict children from drinking alcohol and place the age for voting at an age when they have had a chance to mature and improve in reasoning skills. Adults are capable of deciding what is appropriate in their own lives. However, when children hear respected adults use foul language, they believe that using similar language makes them more adult as well.
I have heard throughout my life that swear-words are vocabulary for the uneducated. Obviously times have changed and such language is heard in every walk of life. It is simply my opinion that the dignity of the office you hold is denigrated by the use of foul language, and that hurts us all.
Thank you for your time and consideration,