Have you ever had the experience where you rehearsed a speech or discussion or just a point you wish to bring up in your head so many times and then when the opportunity came for you to bring those words to light it fell flat?
I am proud of the fact that I have an English degree from the U.S. Naval Academy. Surely, I know how to speak well if I have an English degree for such an esteemed institution right? HA. I’ll tell you this. Use of language for the satisfaction of scholarly cited papers and professionals makes no comparison to word choice when speaking to your spouse and your children. I almost want to say that Grammar Instructors should be married with children before they attempt to teach you how to use words in sentences and paragraphs. Being a wife and mother has challenged my use of words like nothing else in this world. Sometimes I want to cringe when I hear what just came out of my mouth.
Yesterday, was my son’s 7th birthday. He was so looking forward to going to school on his birthday because the principal always announces birthdays over the intercom each day. Judah loves celebrating birthdays no matter whose day it is anyway. It doesn’t have to be his birthday. If it means cake and ice cream, he is all in. When I asked him how his day was when he returned home from school. He says to me, “it was okay but some of the boys in my class didn’t wish me a happy birthday. They kept saying, “Happy Die-Day, Judah.” Talk about a moment when my heart dropped the same time my mouth did. Mean kids can say the cruelest things. Judah says he told them that there is no such thing as a “Die-Day” and I am proud he spoke up and used his words to communicate that their mean expression did not concern him. At least, I know my son is strong and speaks up for himself. I thought about Judah’s cruel experience much of the evening. It dawned on me that the best thing I can do for my children is to teach them that their choice of words, proceeding from their lips, shapes their character and personality.
As an English major, I thought back on my own days in school when English was called Language Arts. I am not sure what brought about the change in the description of this course of study in school. But I think we need to bring it back because using the write words is an art form. My prayer is that we will all learn to take more responsibility for our word choice and that we hold each other accountable for the words that proceed from our lips. Our mouths can be damaging and destructive. We are in an election year when words are just thrown around like rocks. What are we teaching young people who are watching if we as adults are not showing the proper use of language? Thankfully my compassionate son has learned something from his mom, the English major. When I use my words, I will use them strongly.
How well would you say you use your words in spoken language? Are you a better communicator orally than you are in written work. Do you believe you set a good example to others in your conversation?