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Friday, July 29, 2011

Power of Words

Many young mothers love to brag about how intelligent their babies are because they can say a word or two. Although my daughters spoke early and often, my first born son was a quiet mover who barely said much his first year of life; however, Daniel rode a bicycle before his third birthday. Of course now that my kids are 23, 21, and 18 years old, no one knows or cares about their early development.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant minds ever, continually worried his mother because he didn't talk until he was three or four years old. One evening at the dinner table he said, "The soup's too hot." His mother, being thrilled and relieved to hear her young son speak, asked why he had never spoken before. Young Einstein said, "Up to now everything has been in order."

Although we like to tune into the first words of babies, kid speech is more fun as they bumble through our language not always knowing what their words mean. In a fourth grade classroom, a child was assigned to describe the country of Belgium in twenty-six pages--one page for each letter of the alphabet. If that child knew what urinate meant, she wouldn't have written, "Belgium men urinate in the streets" on her U page.

Kids are not the only ones who sometimes misinterpret language. I remember a father from long ago who used to love to show everyone how smart he was by using "big" words; however, he sounded like an idiot when he called the parent/teacher conference a tryst! Not with you, moron.

Misinterpreting language is not new to our millennium. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt hated the typical small talk and flattery that he received at the Washington parties, so at one event he greeted his guests by cheerily saying, "I murdered my grandmother this morning." Most people smiled, paid the president a compliment, and moved on. Towards the end of the evening, he came upon an active listener who diplomatically said, "I'm sure she had it coming to her."

Since I started with Einstein's first words, let me end with Karl Marx's last words in 1883. His maid asked him if he had any dying words that she could write down for prosperity. He said, "Go on, get out - last words are for fools who haven't said enough."

And now I've said enough. If you like this post, please vote for my blog on the Picket Fence. Thanks!


Cathy said...

Fun post, Joyce. I liked all the anecdotes, especially about Einstein and Roosevelt.

Yes, all kids are different in their speech development. My first son was chatty and made up his own words for things. A caye was a cookie, a plane was a yooom. My second son didn't talk til he was well over 2 and then it was complete sentences and no made up words like his brother. Before that, he was content to point and go Ahhhh whenever he wanted something. He got his point across. Now at 15, he's quite articulate and I still remind him of his early years, much to his embarrassment. Just wait til he brings girls home. Mwhwhahahaha!

Joyce Lansky said...

They all come around eventually. Please don't embarrass your 15 year old. Let it stay in the past because he chooses your nursing home. ;)

Mojo Writin' said...

My girls talked early, often and now they never shut up *grin* My son, my youngest, didn't bother to speak because he only had to smile and everyone rushed to help his adorable, blond, curly, blue-eyed self *Sigh* He remains the same, but when he does speak, he has something to say. Much as I love the idle chatter of my girly flock, I think many people would do well to remember the ways of my son and speak less, but with greater weight *wink*
Great post, Joyce, as I am coming to expect from you *Hugs*

Joyce Lansky said...

Thanks Mojo! A strong silent type, hmm?

Sandee said...

My son turns 41 on Monday. Sigh.

I love this post and it made me smile, especially the guy that used the big words and then used one so inappropriately. Idiot. Serves him right.

I vote for you every time I visit here. Just saying.

Have a terrific weekend. :)

Joyce Lansky said...

Thanks Sandee. I've gotten into the big league for the Picket Fence. It seems to take a lot of votes just to maintain my #67 position.

Tara Tyler said...

i think of things like this when my youngest son milk out of the nose cracks me up with what he says. i cant wait to see how he turns out =)

Jenn said...

Your post made me think of kid-isms. You know the funny things kids say because they hear it wrong. Like one kid I knew called the Civil War the Silver War then proceeded to ask me why our country fought over Silver. *chuckles*

This was an excellent post--with some great quotes from famous people I did no know. Wonderful take on the Power of Words!

Joyce Lansky said...

Thanks for the comments. Misunderstanding language is the stuff Amelia Bedelia and Rose Ann Rosanna Danna are made of!

Rachel Joy said...

Interesting...I can relate to the Urinating part. Men do that here in the Philippines.

Jennifer Wilck said...

Great post! I love the quotes and the anecdotes, although as the mother of 2 very early talkers, I think that sometimes, talking is overrated! :)

Arlee Bird said...

This was a fun post full of words that entertained and even made sense. I guess if we lived in a perfect world nobody would ever have to say anything.

Tossing It Out

Binky said...

Luckily when we get older, we never use words inappropriately!

MuMuGB said...

Interesting post! As we are a bilingual family, let's just say that it took a while for my younger one to start speaking. But now we can't stop her.
In the end, it doesn't really matter.
Thanks for the anecdotes!

Langley said...

That Albert Einstein story is great. I love how kids misuse words too. And misheard lyrics make me belly laugh. I'm not trying to plug my blog here but have you ever heard the misheard Pearl Jam lyrics? I howl every time I watch this clip:

julie fedderson said...

Neat post--love the FDR story--makes you value the people who are truly listening to you. My sons are 4 and 5 and their misuse/misunderstanding of language is a never ending source of comedy.

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