Monday, April 3, 2017

Define (five minute friday)

When the boys do their vocabulary, they'll flip through their dictionaries and find the word requested, only to be stopped cold when they see it has multiple meanings.  Then they'll stall, saying "Which one do I have to write?" Usually, it actually means "Do I really need to copy all of this?" but sometimes it truly is "There are too many options to choose from, I'm not sure what I'm looking for; I'm not even certain whether I'm looking for the noun or verb option!"

If you asked me "Who are you?" in 15 words or less - about what would fit on the two lines in the vocabulary section of their books -  you'd get my Facebook bio:

Showtune belting, National Park loving, Lilla Rose wearing, city girl transplanted to the country. 

I adore Broadway musicals, from Gershwin to Ashman and everything in between.  I think the National Parks are probably one of this world's greatest treasures, and I've learned more history by visiting them than I ever learned from a book. I love my Lilla Rose hair things - I was really close to just hacking my hair off because I was too busy to deal with it, and discovering them turned a sartorial near-mistake into a business.  I was born and raised in a big city, but have spent the last 20 years living in farm country.  That line's more than one actual definition, but that sums it up.  Sort of.

Those four definitions can't cover everything I am. I'm a wife and a mom.  As a special-needs mom, I've evolved to be a walking combination of medical textbook and PDR; in that particular war zone, I'm both a 4-star-General and brand-new-plebe.  I'm the homeschool teacher, and the student learning alongside. This morning I was told I was a "very good frosting maker," too.  (Imagine that in a dictionary!)  The "frosting maker" definition is why I've also become "a runner."

But how would all that be written in a tidy, "write one on the line" workbook entry?  How would someone choose "What defines her?" And we're back to context. Am I a noun or a verb? Based on the tone of voice I hear,  I could be an interjection!  Some days I'm one or another, but sometimes I'm both, belting show tunes on the treadmill to distract me from the cupcakes in the kitchen.  So when a kid asks, "Which definition do I use?"  I reply, "Well, how is it used in the sentence? What is going on around the word you're looking at?" Hopefully, they'll learn that lesson applies to life: what is going on around a person helps you find a meaning of who they are, and sometimes, you need to write them all.  "Just one statement" can't define a person.

Five Minute Friday is a weekly event. Our hostess, Kate chooses a single word to start the free-writing process - this week, it's define. It's not about revising your thoughts to perfection, it's about taking 5 minutes to just put it all out there. New writers and readers are always welcome.

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