When you stop to think about it, language is a funny thing. It is bound by endless rules that we spend every stage of education learning, making it so ingrained into our beings that we often take it for grant it. People who know the rules usually don’t stop to think about them or question them until someone asks the all important question of ‘why’ and anyone who has tried to pick up a second language later in life can tell you that sometimes it is like there is no rules at all!
Language is all at once beautiful, thought provoking, meaningful, confusing and infuriating. It is how we express ourselves, how we communicate to show gratitude and compassion as well as how we illustrate why someone is wrong when we are in an argument or tell them where to go when they anger us. Taking all of this into consideration, it is no wonder that there is so much fuss made over a child’s first words.
If were being honest though, I’ve never really understood why someone’s first word is so important. I certainly do not remember mine and really, is the first word someone says actually all that important? Isn’t it just repetition? Does it even mean anything at all?
If you ask me, I think that chosen words should be weighted far more heavily, even better if they are paired with the actions to back them up. This was something my dad taught me at a young age. There were many lessons over the years (any involving math at the kitchen table usually didn’t end well) but this one certainly stuck, perhaps because it did not involve books, equations or formulas and it was also a lesson in gravity.
The teaching tool? A toy soldier with a parachute, the flimsy plastic kind that you fold just right so that when you toss it up in the air it floats down almost majestically. Of course, tossing it up into the air isn’t really best practice. To get the best results you need height. I was enthralled by this and my dad was happy to indulge my fascination, refolding the parachute so that we could toss it over the stair landing and watch it float down only to do it all over again. When my mom walked in I was thrilled to show her what I had learned and promptly threw the toy soldier over the railing at her yelling “incoming!” … She was not amused.