Monday, November 16, 2009

Words My Kids Don't Know

Every once in awhile I am surprised by the words my children don't know--words that were familiar in my Pacific Northwest childhood, but words that just don't come up in desert conversations. On a vacation to Seaside, Oregon, I mentioned a log on the beach. My then-three-year-old didn't know the meaning of "log." Last month we were reading about the Pilgrims sailing to Holland, and the word "harbor" was mentioned; my children wanted to know what a harbor is. "Dock" and "log truck" and "moss" are others I've endeavored to explain. I feel sad sometimes, thinking that my children are unfamiliar with the lush green environment I knew so well at their age.

But a Jeopardy episode reminded me of some other words my kids don't know. A contestant correctly defined the word "malignant" and I was surprised that this was considered difficult enough for Jeopardy--I can't remember ever not knowing the meaning of that word. My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was only six months old, and she had recurrences every year or two until her death when I was twenty-four. I always knew that if she heard the doctor say "malignant" she would cry, but if he said "negative" she would rejoice. My kids, however, have no idea what those words mean--they've hardly even heard the word "cancer." I pondered this for awhile, reflecting that they also don't know much about "divorce," and they've never heard of "foreclosure" or "deployment."

You have blessed us, Lord. I'm sorry for my complaints about the absence of evergreens and rainbows.


  1. We get rainbows. Just not the rain. :-)

    You know your second list is something I can be very grateful about too. Though because of school my oldest could tell you what divorce means. He however is convinced it only happens to other people. :-)

  2. I have never thought of kiddo's vocabulary in this me some real food for thought. Like your girls, she doesn't know "divorce" or "deployment", though she knows the gist of divorce, with my parents' recent split. I'm thankful for what she does know, and for what she doesn't. Hoping and praying she remains innocent for as long as possible.