I read an article the other day written by a man about my age. He found a letter that his father had written to the headmaster of a school to which his son was applying. The author of the article prepared himself to read all the wonderful things his father had written about him, thinking that he would finally know how proud his dad had been of him. He read, however, a letter that used words like “adequate”, “good enough”, and “about average for a boy his age”. Needless to say, the boy, now a man, was disappointed.
It made me think about words. Our eighth graders have been talking a lot about words these days. We’ve been editing our writing – replacing five or six words with one when we can, saying what we mean instead of what first comes to mind. Sometimes I think we are addicted to hyperbole. When a child does a good job in a game or on an assignment, we feel compelled to say “great”, or describe their “adequate” efforts as “awesome” or “fantastic”. The trouble with this approach is that when something is really awesome or fantastic, we’ve already used those words so much that they don’t really mean anything anymore. It seems we have gotten to the point now where we want to have a parade every time someone makes an effort. We are almost afraid to say the word “wrong”. Instead we come up with “close” or “almost there”, even when the answer is wrong, and a million miles off the mark (I know, hyperbole). How about those children who actually do an amazing job, children who work harder and produce outstanding results, or those who play their trumpet exceptionally well? Is their work and effort diminished as they are placed into the “awesome” category with those who gave it a shot, or just got the work done?
In our efforts to encourage our children, to support the good try, we may actually be discouraging the excellence that we want to encourage. By mislabeling minimal effort or good effort with fair results as great, we are leading our children down the path of mediocrity. I’m going to start saving words like “great”, “best”, and “amazing” for things that truly are. I’m going to do that because our amazing children deserve that.
“Exaggeration misleads the credulous and offends the perceptive.” Cook
3 Performance Series Testing begins
Progress Reports go home
Ice Cream in the Park, 1:00pm
Strategic Planning Committee, 6:00pm, Library Media Center
HSA Board Meeting, Faculty Lounge, 7pm
4 Meeting for fifth grade parents, “All About Middle School”, 7pm, Library Media Center
5 First Holy Communion Practice, second grade, 8:30am
6 First Holy Communion, 10:00am.
7 Online Auction Camping Trip with Mr. Long and Mr. Dwyer departs
9 Camping Trip returns
Spring Band and Choir Concert, 7pm
11 Muffins for Moms and May Procession, 8:45am
12 Mass at noon
Knights of Columbus Teacher Appreciation Night, 7pm
15 CYO Awards Banquet, 6pm
16 Patrol Picnic, 8th grade
Eighth Grade Retreat departs
18 Eighth Grade Retreat returns
In-School Planetarium, Grades K – 3
Seventh Grade, HSPT
19 Mass at 9am
20 Practice for Confirmation, in the church, 9:00am
23 Seventh grade to Gettysburg
24 Last day of class for eighth grade
25 Field Day, No after school care
26 NO SCHOOL
29 NO SCHOOL Memorial Day
Mrs. McGann, Principal
OLOL Wednesday Words by Patricia McGann is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.