What happened to the words “mother” and “father”?

No one says “mother” or “father” any more. There are only “moms” and “dads.” My mom. Your dad. His, her, and its mom and dad. Speaking this way, we eliminate the natural quality of respect that is due to our parents, our progenitors, the source of our being, and reduce them to pets for whom we have affection, but not respect. Speaking this way, we sound like a silly, self-infantilized people, incapable of holding a country together, let alone of leading the world. And of course this includes conservatives, who automatically and without the slightest resistance follow every movement of the dominant liberal culture.

Michelle Malkin begins her latest column thus:

I am the mom of a 12-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy. They have been huge fans of Nickelodeon TV programming throughout their childhoods. We even took them to the Nick Hotel in Florida, where we stayed in a SpongeBob SquarePants family suite. But enough is enough.

And of course the same usage has been adopted by all recent Republican presidents and presidential nominees. From Romney’s acceptance speech:

My dad had been born in Mexico and his family had to leave during the Mexican revolution. I grew up with stories of his family being fed by the US Government as war refugees. My dad never made it through college and apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter. And he had big dreams. He convinced my mom, a beautiful young actress, to give up Hollywood to marry him. He moved to Detroit, led a great automobile company and became Governor of the Great State of Michigan….

My mom and dad gave their kids the greatest gift of all—the gift of unconditional love. They cared deeply about who we would BE, and much less about what we would DO….

My mom and dad were true partners, a life lesson that shaped me by everyday example. When my mom ran for the Senate, my dad was there for her every step of the way. I can still hear her saying in her beautiful voice, “Why should women have any less say than men, about the great decisions facing our nation?”

Or this, speaking about his wife Ann:

I knew that her job as a mom was harder than mine. And I knew without question, that her job as a mom was a lot more important than mine. And as America saw Tuesday night, Ann would have succeeded at anything she wanted to.

Given conservatives’ unthinking conformity to the liberal culture, I wouldn’t be surprised if within five years some of the writers at National Review are sporting tattoos (they already have a featured writer, Kevin Williamson, with a shaved head; and by the way he has no problem with homosexual “marriage”), and within ten years some Republican governors and senators have tattoos.

Also, speaking of conservatives uncritically inhabiting the swamp of the dominant liberal culture, see to what an X-rated extreme Nickelodeon had to go before Michelle Malkin stopped watching it. Warning: it is extreme.

- end of initial entry -

Laura Wood writes:

Here is the beginning of a letter my grandfather wrote home from the front during World War I:

Dearest Mother,

I happened to see in the Paris paper that Sunday, the 12th is Mother’s Day and that we might celebrate by writing to our Mothers, such letters to receive special consideration in the mails. So these are my thoughts to you Mother mine.

You must know it is not necessary for me to have a special day in which to remember you, for in my thoughts every day is Mother’s Day and many are the spaces of the day and the restless moments of the night that I think of Mother and of home and how much I wish I could see them both….

If he had said, “These are my thoughts to you, mom,” how different it would have been.

Terry Morris writes:

Thank you for adressing this. I have been thinking about it a lot lately myself, having noticed that I have acquired the habit of referring to my mother and father as “my Mom,” and “my Dad” when speaking about them with other people. That will change post haste.

On a related note, I’m a stickler for referring to my children as children, not as my “kids,” which derives from the same principle you’ve alluded to in this entry. And I’m not above correcting others on the issue when they’ve referred to their children as “my kids” one too many times with me. I usually say something to the effect of, “Kids are little sheep, children are little people.” Which usually does the trick.

September 30

BLS writes:

When talking to my parents and family, I refer to my parents as “Mom” and “Dad.” When talking with people outside of my family, I refer to my parents as “Mother” and “Father.” I never noticed I did this until this post.

I think Laura Wood’s letter shows how meaningful, and respectful, the word “Mother” is as a term. The same applies to “Father.” It is a sign of respect.

Our language has devolved into a informal parade of words. In an age where children may have two “mothers” or two “fathers,” the informal, the subjective, the determined non-meaning of words are a rejection of standard truths. We redefine words to accept noxious ideas as traditional standards.

The saving grace is that we do not have to be a part of this destruction of our language. We choose the words we speak and write. We have to be aware of the words we use. Words cannot be redefined if the majority of people do not accept a new definition. By choosing our words as a structural history, we preserve our language, our history, and our culture.

LA replies:

Do you refer to your parents as “Mom” and “Dad,” or as “my mom” and “my dad”? The first is fine in my opinion—“Mom” and “Dad” (as well as “Mother” and “Father”) are in effect their names. The problem is saying “my mom” instead of “my mother.”

BLS replies:

When talking with my parents (or brothers), I refer to them as “Mom” and “Dad.” When talking with people who are not part of my blood family, I refer to them as “my Mother” and “my Father.” I don’t think that was based on anything more than choosing a term that seemed more mature—I would never refer to my father as “daddy” or my mother as “mommy!” But some adults still refer to their parents that way.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 29, 2012 10:47 AM | Send

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