Another Four-Letter Word – IMO We Should Kill This One
And speaking of killing, have you ever taken note of just how much of this killing goes on around you every day?
You hear co-workers say, “She’s been spreading stories about me. I’m going to kill her.”
You hear teens say, “If I wore that out in public my dad would kill me.”
You hear one furious child tell another, “I’m going to kill you!”
You hear moms say, “If your dad heard you say that, he’d kill you.”
You hear fathers in stores: “Mom’s going to kill us when we get home with this.”
Little eyes open wide, maybe fill with tears, maybe the lip trembles a bit. You see the words do provoke fear, discomfort, uncertainty. My heart aches for the poor child. To me this seems like a kind of verbal abuse — but I know they’ll live through it.
Again and again children hear these threats and they live through it. They get hardened to it; finally the words mean nothing. They become just another part of the verbal landscape – something they just ignore and finally adopt to express their own displeasure.
Back in High School one day I overheard another girl tell a few friends, “My mom wants to have another baby. I told her I’ll kill her if she does.”
I was amazed that she thought it was any of her business; in our house what parents did was their choice alone. But I was shocked that she’d actually threaten to kill her mother. It was normal to hear fellow teens say, “My Mom’s going to kill me if I do such & such.” But for a teen to actually upfront threaten a parent…
If I’d said such a thing to my mom and my dad would have heard it… I shudder to think!
This was not an expression used at our house; I’m thankful for that. My Dad’s displeasure could make me tremble. If I was tearful over some minor issue and he said, “Dry up or I’ll give you something to cry about,” I tried hard to dry up because I knew that “something” wouldn’t be pleasant. But they never threatened to kill me or each other.
According to the Collins Canadian Dictionary, KILL means:
1) deprive of life or vitality; put to death; cause the death of; cause or bring about death
2) destroy, put an end to
Back in December a young man walked into a school with a rifle and the intent to KILL, and he did deprive a number of people — mostly children — of their life and vitality. He put them to death. He destroyed — put an end to — their future.
This is killing.
When you think about it this way, KILL is such an ugly word. It’s also a LIE. When we make these statements, we are breaking the ninth of the Ten Commandments and “bearing false witness” against our spouse or parent, who isn’t going to kill anyone, thank God.
There are times when we must kill: we kill insects and rodents; we kill animals for their meat; we kill bad ideas. Why don’t we kill the casual threatening use of this word, too?
We can choose from other, more accurate, expressions like “be annoyed with” – and save KILLING for the awfulness that it is.