Thursday, October 29, 2015

Grammar and the Gospel

I grew up the progeny of a professor.  My mom held a PhD in English and taught various forms of that field at the university level.  She was a lover of literature and a guardian of grammar.  In our home, words mattered and the improper use of syntactic structure could get you in as much trouble as the crude use of cursing. 

Mom taught me that grammar is the glue that holds context and content together.  When the glue is improperly applied, meaning can fall apart and crucial pieces of conversation can be lost. We talked often of using accurate articles, properly applied pronouns, and correct verb tense. 

I didn’t care much for those language lessons as a child (particularly not as they were being drilled into me over summer vacation!), but, as the years have rolled on I’ve grown in my gratitude for the phonemic pedagogy of my parent.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Word For the Secret Keepers of the World

My kids have always loved literature. When they were little I would enter our local library with a HUGE wicker laundry basket whose high purpose in life was not much unlike that of a pack mule.  That faithful old basket would bear the books that would become our companions for the next few days.  

It wasn't unusual for us to leave with 50 or more books per trip ... and then return in a few days to do it all over again.  

Through the years I became quite familiar with almost everything in the children's stacks - because we had checked out almost everything in the children's stacks. 

I knew the good books, the bad books, the boring books, and the books that pierced the human heart in poignant ways. 

At the top of my list for poignant piercing parables is a fairy tale written by Kate Coombs. It's called "The Secret Keeper"  and it tells the tale of a single woman named Kalli who (literally) keeps all the secrets of all the people who live in the village of Maldinga.