Friday, November 02, 2007

Word Palette

Jolie, my three-year-old granddaughter, is learning to speak English. From toddler gibberish she progressed to complex sentences and words. A few weeks ago, we took her north to Huntsville, Texas. She had recently heard the word “hospital.” When we left to travel north, she told her Pop, “We’re going to Huntspital.”

When our son Russell was acquiring his language skills, he combined “eyelashes” and “eyebrows” into one common word, “eyebrashes.” He also had cemetery and cafeteria confused. In his world, people were buried in cafeterias and had meals in cemeteries.

Where would we be without words, written or spoken? We would no doubt be reduced to animal like communications where we trumpeted, woofed, and cackled. But, thank God, he blessed humans with not only the ability to communicate necessary information, but we can transcend commercial language and express deeper thoughts through verbal expressions of concern, poetry and love notes.

In greeting cards, if you care enough to send the very best a Hallmark card is chosen. Their adept marketing touts their merit through ad campaigns. Hallmark hires trend experts so when we belly up to their card rack, we’ll find the exact words to express our sentiments.

In 2006, their trend experts identified prevalent needs in American society, things they’ve noticed for nearly a decade, that’s when they are categorized as trends. “An emerging and strengthening trend is the search for meaning in a technological, rapidly moving, pressure-filled society – and the sense of dissonance that results.”

Marita Wesely-Clough, a Hallmark trends expert, wrote that “attitudes, perceptions and behavior continually evolve into trends and as individuals, the nation and the world adjust to change, some trends become cultural characteristics.”

God knew that the search for meaning is a life-long trend. To assist us, he created language—the language we use in the market place and the vulnerable language we use to strengthen relationships with family and to pour out woes and praise to God.

Jesus, the embodiment of heaven’s language, behaved, loved, noticed, forgave, extended mercy and righted injustices. In his life, we read good language, God-language.

Just as little children learn language skills, adults are still learning, too. A proverb says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (25:11). Families need artists. From a palette of effective words, we can create masterpieces that inspire members to a higher calling.

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