From time to time I post stories about things I learned from my toddler grandson. We really do learn a lot from our children and grandchildren.
So the other day when my grandson who is turning three next month corrected me on my terrible vocabulary mistake, I realized how important language is and how we need to pay attention to our words.
I asked him how he was enjoying his “chips” which is what he calls “potato chips.” Without skipping a beat and barely swallowing said chips, he corrected me, “It’s NOT chips, Omi! It’s Bissli.”
Oh my! How could I make such a serious mistake?! You all know that Bissli and Potato Chips are two entirely different snacks and here I had the audacity to imply they were one and the same.
Lesson learned: Watch your language; you will be called on it.
I think there is much to be said about calling things by their appropriate names. About a month ago, I wrote a thank you card to a friend who had done a huge favor to me. She commented later to me that she appreciated that I spelled her name correctly. Apparently, she spells her first name differently from the typical way to spell that name. Without divulging who she is, here’s an example: If her name is “Judy,” she spells is “Judie.” Or if her name is Rebecca, she spells it Rebeka. And she was glad that I – unlike many others – remembered to spell it correctly on the card.
I thought of my grandson and how he was particular not to confuse the names of Bisly and Pringles. And I realized that I’m going to pay attention to other people’s desires for precision in spelling, pronunciation and vocabulary usage. If it doesn’t make a difference to me, why annoy the other person with sloppiness?
A person’s name is precious to him or her. He or she values a name. So the next time you buy a canister of Pringles,
don’t you dare call them potato chips.
Call them by their proper name, or you WILL be corrected. By your toddler or pre-school aged grandson.
Show respect for words and their meanings. Don’t ever say, “Oh it’s the same thing….let’s not make a big deal.”
Because it is a big deal. Words matter.