There is an inordinate amount of phrases and words that have negative connotations that really should have more positive meanings. These words and phrases have a large impact into how we (ourselves and as a society) view the world around us. Sometimes I have to wonder with a language as vast as ours if we are too often sending the wrong message to the next generation by over using words with double meanings. But what do we do? Are we sending the wrong message?
Should we avoid using words with bad or double meanings? Do we somehow cleanse these words of their bad connotations? Or do we continue to use these words, teach their double meanings, and educate our children on not letting a negative meaning color their outlook?
I bet you are wondering where all of this is coming from.
In several posts I have brought up how the word “foster” has received bad publicity. I have also mentioned that the term foster parent has been replaced in some states and literature with the term “resource parent”. The reason for the change has to do with re-branding. Changing the label of something with a bad rap but a new image can sometimes help eradicate the negative stigma attached to it.
Here DCS (Department of Child Services) wants to show how it is changing and evolving for the better. They want to reassure the public that they are doing what they can to help families stay together; protection and oversight is being provided; homes (extended family and foster) are being thoroughly vetted; and more. Essentially that this is not the same DCS from our parents generation. DCS wants a better public image. This also links to the need for quality foster parents.
There are a million reasons to re-brand and DCS isn’t wrong that in some ways they are in need of a re-branding. In this case I am not sure changing a term like foster parent to resource parent is going to have the over-encompassing effect wished for.
There are plenty of other words and terms in our society that have similar negative feelings attached. Words like “used”, “second hand”, and “thrift” have more negative associations than positive.
Lately I have been wondering if we, as a society, are putting way too much positive emphasis on “new” and sending the wrong message about words tied to “used”. It is true that no one wants a used tissue but a used piece of clothing can evoke much the same feeling to a good portion of our society.