Mary Beth Writes

5/30/2023

Grownups Noticing Their Lives - Words!

The month of May might have been above my paygrade. I contributed to a weeks-long writing project in our congregation. I met friends more often than usual to talk and catch up. Two grandkids came for a sleepover last week. Our daughter and her little dog spent last Friday with us. Saturday another grandkid slept over.

SO MANY WORDS! So much talking and listening and directing kiddos to do this and not that. So many questions asked, read, written, responded to. So many little kids mumbling something, and Len or I would say what, and they would say it again, and we would answer them, and they would ask why.

Things I noticed about living in a month-long swirl of words.

1. Holy Cow, no one pays teachers enough.

2. Healthy little kids with good self-esteem mostly talk if they are awake. Sure, kids can fall into play and projects like we do. But the predominant sign that they are little is that they are prattling. However, if you need to know what they are actually saying, you have to pay as much attention as you do when you are listening to a person in a different country give directions. Hardcore listening.

3. Kids don’t listen. One of my grandkids can look directly at me as I’m speaking directly to her and she just goes “offline” and doesn’t hear me. This is not intentional bad behavior (exactly). It’s more that she just opts out for a while. It does mean the grownup has to jolly her along or speak more dynamically than one wanted, to get her back. Which requires more mental energy on the part of the adult who is caring for her at the moment. More talking. So much talking and listening and talking!

4. I read to my kids a lot when they were little and just this past weekend I realized all that reading was probably a survival strategy for me, the grownup in the room. When I was reading I cleared the air (for a bit) of mumbling toddlers. I reveled in the luxury of sentences and stories that had beginnings, middles, and ends. I’m fine with plots about chickens who buy feather boas as long as the adult who wrote the book told me why and made me chuckle.

I was in the kitchen Sunday morning while a grandkid was talking and talking to Len. I heard him sigh and suggest in his bright grandpa voice, “Want me to read you a story?”

The grandkids feel safe around us so they talk on and on. We love our kids and listen to them with respect and humor. Words are the paths between us, same as is true with our friends. 

Still, not talking after one has talked a lot is a great and rather humorous luxury.

“If writers wrote as carelessly as some people talk, then adhasdh asdglaseuyt[bn[ pasdlgkhasdfasdf.”
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

“For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”
― Stephen Hawking

“When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.”
― Abraham Lincoln

“They could steam up windows with their kisses, but as soon as they started using their mouths for other things—like talking—everything got so complicated.”
― Lauren Kate, Torment

“Don't gobblefunk around with words.”
― Roald Dahl, The BFG

 

 

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What Now, US Constitution?

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Not sure if I wrote this post for you or for me.

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