Should We Offer a New Course on How Not to be Coarse?

Dear Reader:

Some days I feel lifted by an act of kindness observed or words of gratitude I over hear in daily conversations. These types of incidences make my day…I return home with a smile and a great memory of the episode.

Too often, however it seems like there is a muted acceptance, nowadays, of what Grandmother Wilson would have called someone ‘out on the carpet’ for being “coarse, rude, or crude.” I cringe if I have my grandchildren with me to witness an adult acting like a spoiled two-year-old demanding to see a manager or throwing something back at a poor waitress or demeaning a clerk or receptionist.

It is hard to avoid these rants on any kind of public media…from television, to iPads or iPhones, emails, twitter. Facebook….the list could go on and on.

Virtue is a word that we don’t hear much anymore…especially in daily life. Richard Floyd, in his daily devotional titled “ Everyday Virtue” observes:

“For a society to function humanely there needs to be widespread commitment to what I call “everyday virtue.” To “act honorably” towards others is needed now more than ever. One only needs to read the comments section on practically any post in social media to know how viciously mean we can be toward one another.”

“New information technologies make communicating around the globe easier, but with them have come a coarsening of public discourse. It is easier to fling harsh and hurtful words anonymously across an electronic medium than it is face to face.”


The only time I remember discussing the word “coarse” growing up was in the ‘quite intimidating’ 12th grade English teacher (Miss Ruth)’s class. As we went over the rules in her classroom, the first day of school, I still remember her glaring at each of us and reading aloud…“There will be no coarse language or coarse humor tolerated and/or abided within these four walls…understood?”

I couldn’t have defined “coarse” (besides coarse hair, perhaps) but I figured it out enough to know it meant the same thing that we girls would fling back at inappropriate words from a boy when we called out “Oooh….So Rude…So Crude” while we pretended to sash-shay off with our faces turned away from the perpetrator.

I think what bothers me lately…is that people aren’t “sash-shaying” away when confronted with coarse behavior…from language to gestures. Demeaning words and rudeness are overlooked and even accepted by too many as “just the way it is now.” Really? That’s it?

Maybe my intolerance of coarse behavior is just another number to add to “You know You are Getting Older When….” and there is still too much teacher in me (probably thanks to Miss Ruth) to “abide” coarse words when better vocabulary choices can get across the same message without the unnecessary crudeness.

Or perhaps my memory is going… as the comedienne Steven Wright once quipped : “A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.” 🙂

Believe me I have had my moments too…Perhaps getting “long in the tooth” erases memories of being “uncouth”.…but come on America….we’re better than this.…losing virtue leaves kindness amiss.”

So until tomorrow…”Kindness is the sunshine in which virtue grows” (Ingersoll)

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

*It is the first day of August…the ‘dog days’ of summer…Woof! Woof! We know we’re going to have a hot one…so we might as well add a “Rabbit” to the mix and hop right in until Fall. Don’t forget to say “Rabbit” today. Then “Good, good, good, good vibrations.”

Rutledge is having his first spend-the-night with me. Mollie and Eloise dropped him off yesterday afternoon amid monsoons…but thank goodness the sun came out later and we were able to get out. We did an art project…got a solar light and fairy house for his tree, went by and saw the hippo statue at a local pond and red-headed chicken fell in love with him…following him around everywhere he went.




About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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2 Responses to Should We Offer a New Course on How Not to be Coarse?

  1. bcparkison says:

    So true,so true. Sometimes on my facebook page,which I feel like we all need to get away from, I want to shout…GROW UP”.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      Facebook is an example of how a good idea can go awry when good intentions turn into bad results creating a tool that becomes mean-spirited and self-aggrandizing.

      Liked by 1 person

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