Friday, June 29, 2007

A Command of the Language and a Sense of Style....

It is said that we admire in others those characteristics that we desire for ourselves or are lacking in someway. It is also said that we can learn a lot from our children. Sharon has a wonderful blogiversary post today which includes the saying "Where came this?", a perfect expression of wonder gifted to that family when her son was a toddler.

Our family was given a similar, yet less universal saying with my son's first complete sentence: "go back, buy more chocolate now!"

Language is such a wonderful gift to the human race. A command of the language serves one well through out a life time. That's why I walked away just a little sad after a brief conversation in a check out line yesterday.

Just ahead of me were grandparents with their little grandaughter. The clerk took the time to talk to the child and ask her, "How old are you? Are you four?" The little girl laughed a bubbley laugh and said, "Two!"

The atmosphere was friendly, so I commented to the little girl, "Wow, you are really tall for two years!" and she kind of giggled and babbled.

Then the grandparents kicked in: "Tell the lady: 'hello, how are you?'" Which she did, so I played along: "I'm fine, thank you. How are you?"

She responded with a lovely laugh before her grandad prodded, "Tell her you're good." So she did....but the giggles and bubbles had waned....and she allowed a string of beautiful babbling syllables at the end.

And we all moved on from there. I understand the grandparents' interest in teaching the little girl social conventions of language and courtesy, but it makes me sad to see adults treat children as Charlie McCarthy puppets. My prayer for that little girl is that there is a space, a big space, in her little life where she is free to express the thoughts going through that lovely head. That she too can say to some adult: "Where came this?" as an expression of wonder and get an answer rather than syntactical correction. Or "Go back, buy more chocolate (or whatever she loves) now!" as a command to fulfill her needs and desires.

So...I admire a command of the language and desire it for others. That's probably a selfish desire because when others speak or write well, my life is enriched. (Thank you Sharon.)

However, I also truly admire a sense of style. Even tho' I'm a weaver, spinner, knitter, and seamstress I tend to dress "uniform fashion". I find T's, tops, slacks, and skirts that fit...and I buy or sew several of the same thing in different colors. I own tons of shoes....I wear 3 pair regularly. You get the idea.

Not everyone in my family is like that. My Mom was a costume jewelry queen. My sister has a great sense of style. And yesterday I recieved confirmation that the style gene is being passed down through the family. Witness my great niece, Gracie on her 2nd birthday:

Matching sunglasses, boots, and sundress! I love it. No wonder Liz Claiborne could go to her rest this week. It has been demonstrated that others will carry on that true sense of style and fashion! And a little child shall lead them!


  1. What a great picture!

    I don't have kids, but I imagine it must be a difficult balance: on the one hand teach them about social norms, and on the other allow them the room to have their own interactions and styles (even if it isn't what you would choose).

    I also love a great sense of style (I strive for it myself, but probably miss more often than hit). I saw a woman last week who managed to get away with a full pink skirt, orange tights and black Doc Martens. I don't know how she did it, but she looked *wonderful*!

  2. Gracie is lucky that she is given the liberty to chose how she wants to dress. Ian and I have commented on many occasions how lucky all of our grandchildren are, first to wake up every morning in an environment where they are loved to pieces, and secondly to be allowed freedom to express their creativity but the discipline to behave with manners. It's a tightrope in this time, and many children aren't blessed at all. I've seen those children in the grocery store too.

  3. I love Gracie's sense of style! It looks similar to my three year olds. Actually, her favorite clothing is her birthday suit! But she now know that when we go out she has to get dressed. And some of the outfits she put together are priceless.


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