Vocabulary Matters

Sep 19 2012

Conversation between my teenager, my husband and me:

Abby: You didn’t save me any chicken last night.

Me: What? What was last night?

Abby: I had dance ’til really late. I came home and the chicken was gone. You didn’t save me any.

Me: Huh. That’s weird.

Abby: It’s not weird, Mom. It’s mean.

Me: Well, I’m not sure I’d say it’s mean. That might be a tiny exaggeration, right? Mean implies intent, and I certainly didn’t intend to not save you any chicken.

Abby: Seriously? You fed all your other children food. Just not me. Unkind.

Me: Hey, Greg. Did you know we didn’t save Abby any chicken last night?

Greg: What was last night?

Me: Dance. Abby was out late. We didn’t save food.

Greg: We didn’t?

Me: That’s the way I heard it.

Greg: Huh. I guess we forgot about her.

Me: EXACTLY. That’s what I thought, too. SEE, ABBY? We’re not being mean. We’re being thoughtless and neglectful.

And this is why vocabulary matters, folks. Language is a precision instrument; we must teach our children to use it correctly. 

Can I get an amen?

Abby totally agrees.