I love words. When I have to choose the phrase "give and take" instead of "reciprocity," it breaks my heart. But I made a decision long ago to be part of the self-help movement and to make language understandable. Most people understand me, but to this day I will read a review of my book that says it is too simplistic. They are implying that the book lacks something. I used to reply to the review and say, "The simplicity was the whole point," but I don't bother anymore.
When I was a student teacher I wanted to teach Black History but there were no books on the subject except on a college level. So night after night I translated the books so the eighth grade student could read them. Some accused me of "dumbing down," but I disagree. Communication is the only hope we have for a world full of chaos.
This is also why I read "The Messsage," which is a modern paraphrase of the Bible. The author's name was Peterson [Son of Peter]. I want to say what a great synchronistic event that is, but instead I will say what a marvelous coincidence it is.
The most important book that helps me because of its simplicity is "Emotional Intelligence," by Goleman. Another author who wrote "The Noonday Demon," chose not to simplify and I could not finish the book, thus losing the knowledge I badly needed.
The complicated words are exiting too. One just has to learn them. It is not about being smart or dumb; it gets easy with reading a lot.
One of the things that I love about my husband is that he knows a lot and when he says a word I don't really understand it is so exiting to me when he explains it ... its not that often though.
So I tell him this is the reason I love u bc you know all this difficult words .
Ones humility and reason also can be seen in using more clear and simple words. I know i great doctor who will simplify all bc if his kidness not arrogance.
From Susan . . . Thank you for this post. Your open mindedness about new words will carry you a long way. Sometimes I refer to myself as a translator. Sometimes people project a "know it all personality" on to me and I just speak naturally. But when the person is not sensitive, I can clarify words and I know she is really understanding me.
I recently started working with a woman from Brazil. I asked her permission to pause and explain certain terms. She was ok with this, so when I said an important word I paused and asked politely, "Do you know what projection means?" Most of the time she had an intuitive sense of what it meant, but I think she got more out of the lesson understanding each important phrase, especially the cliches. I use a lot of them. I caught myself saying "That is water under the bridge now." I could see in her eyes she did not understand the meaning of this cliche, so I asked her if she knew what it meant. In order not to appear more learned than her, I explained that I did not know what it meant either until I was told by someone what it meant. Then I memorized the meaning. I so admire those who learn a second language. I have never been able to do this. Even after 4 years of Spanish in high school all I remember is "Vaya con dios." Go with God.
Christ talked in parables which was his version of the cliche. He knew that his superior intellect would be too complicated, ["over their head": another cliche] so he told them stories.
Stories are a lovely form of communication. A long story is called an allegory. I wrote one about my life. You just give every character a name that illustrates what you want to say about them. In Where Love Abides I name my son Expectation because we always expect so much from our sons. I named my daughter Comfort because she comforted me. My lover was named Passion and my best friend Empathy. Everyone should write allegory. It is so much fun.
My friend, Susan Anderson, wrote her own allegory. It is called The Black Swan. Excellent book. As they said about my book once, "lovely little tome." I had to look that one up but I really like it. It is musical. When I fine tune a sentence it is like writing a song.