Thursday Thirteen 50: You Are What You Say
I teach literacy at an inner-city middle school where the kids have seen more of what can go wrong in life in their 13 or so years than I have in my 41. Part of my job is to convince these lowest-performing students that reading and writing are the first essential keys to lives of their choosing--that with the right vocabulary they will dream well and live as large as they want if they make the effort.
It's not easy. So often in the halls and in the emptying classrooms I hear conversations full of bravado and other forms of foolishness peppered with every curse word you can imagine as well as a few innovations that would confound the worldliest of sailors.
It occurs to me that the words we use reflect who we are. They reflect our souls. I have been accused from time to time of arguing semantics. To that I say, "Of course." Semantics. The science of language is a study of the soul. It's important to me to get it right and to read text as if every word were placed with love and purpose. In so many ways, it's all we can do for each other from day to day.
This got me thinking of the words I would use to describe, oh, my dearest friend. Here is my semantic gift for this friend:
The words sing in my heart as stories in their own right. I especially like magnanimous, which means having a great mind, soul, spirit. The beauty and magic of friendship is becoming what you find most admirable in a friend. May it be so. May my students learn it and learn to love it so.