“Judge not…”

Barge Hall, Central Washington University

It occurs to me that I was brought up with a lot of conflicting standards.  Well, maybe not “a lot” but certainly with a few that have prevailed.  Take “judge not that ye be not judged…”  I’m sure I heard that at home as well as in Sunday School.  On the other hand, my mother often corrected my grammar by saying, “you can tell a lot about a person by how they use the King’s English.”

It was understood (somehow) that the “King’s English” wasn’t an expression to be taken literally, but was meant as a pinnacle to which I should aspire.  I think I did all right.  I don’t remember any specific suggestions for toning down slang in my high school years though she could easily have done so.  I’m quite sure that when my mother was a teen, my grandmother must have monitored her usage along those lines,  although I have only indirect evidence.

In a postscript to a letter written to her oldest daughter, Medora on September 25, 1914 my grandmother said:  Please don’t use that word “rotten.”  It is as vulgar and unladylike as gosh or other of the Amy Saves expressions. I spent a lot of time when I was writing my Dear Medora book trying to run down the “Amy Saves” reference, but couldn’t find it.  I think it was probably the title of a book or magazine serial popular with teens of the time.

All of those thoughts flew through my head this morning as I read of the false alarm concerning the shooter at Central Washington University.  Once I had determined that everyone – including students I know from here – were safe, I scanned the reports to see what, exactly, had happened.  What jumped off the page were the words of a student (unknown to me) who had been interviewed:  It’s nerving, freaky. It’s just like spooked, like freaked to go to school tomorrow.

My knee-jerk reaction was, “as, I’ve long contended, not everyone should go to college.” and immediately those “judge not that ye be not judged” words came galloping to mind.  My belief that we should be providing many alternative options to our young people hasn’t changed.  I’m just sorry that these horrendous circumstances are what triggered my thought.  Mostly, I’m thankful that everyone is safe and am clapping and cheering for the efficient way campus authorities handled things.

One Response to ““Judge not…””

  1. Oh, how we writers suffer when it comes to language.

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