Years back, when I was first beginning to consider being a teacher, I was given a copy of Frindle. It’s a book about how we alter dictionaries over time, how we make words become words, and how language is magical. Language is history, a time stamp, an ever changing record that tells us who we were, who we are, and who we might be. Words take on different meanings with each new generation and can vary from location to location. Their positive and negative connotations are fluid and we will likely all ask for grace in a decade when the words we said in this today are not seen so kindly in that tomorrow waiting for us. One word in particular has personal value to me. My husband has been saying he “hearts” me or “I heart you” for a very long time. We remember when this was not an acceptable verb found in a legitimate dictionary. I remember him laughing and telling me to wait and see, that it would be a word in time, to trust the power of people to make words become something. Frindle became real life when “heart” became a verb. My sons may now use heart as a verb in a sentence and be grammatically correct. I know it’s just one word, but this proof of the power we hold to influence the world we live in is needed right now. Many, many things around us seem to be unraveling and we’re chasing threads to nowhere, distraught by what we can not fix and disheartened by those who can fix and do not. Though we do not have the ability to confront many of the events unfolding, we do have the ability to believe that our words matter. The words we choose to use have weight and worth and potential and we can change the world with them. Merriam-Webster added “heart” as a verb in 2017. We will add more words, more depth and character to our language, and there is no question that we have influenced our sphere and will continue to do so.
If you haven’t read Frindle, please do so and then give it to someone else. Remind them they have more power than they realize. Give them hope and some spirit to continue to believe in the change they can make. Another place to consider donating is the Family Violence Program of St. Bernard. This center is located in Arabi, LA which is recovering from a tornado. Amazon will give me a little bit if you order from the link and they’ll ship directly to the center if you put their address in for delivery. I know books may not seem like a necessity when food, water, and clothing are in great need following a natural disaster, but the escape and emotional comfort books offer are immensely important.