“Are you trying to tell me something?” I asked my pre-teen grandson.
“Um, uh, yes.”
“Then don’t use that word. You know how I feel about it.”
And the conversation proceeded from there, unimpaired by repeated insertions of “like” into every sentence, as in, “I, um, like, wanted to go to like the soccer game but like I wasn’t like able to because like I had to stay home and like do my homework.”
I will tolerate repetitious misuses of “like” when I’m talking with a person with whom I have no interest in relationship (e.g. a salesperson, albeit I file the conversation under “Try Not to Patronize These Places of Business”) but I will not tolerate even one such misuse with my grandchildren. Why? Because I care about my grandchildren. I want them to have every advantage in life, and one such advantage is the correct use of language in speech. There is a simple reason why one does not hear physicians, lawyers, ministers, public speakers, politicians, CEOs, small business owners, corporate-level salespersons, talk-show hosts, or loan officers peppering their speech with the misuse of “like,” and the simple reason is that such peppering sounds immature, ignorant, and uneducated. It is also highly annoying to anyone who speaks correctly.
During a recent airplane ride from Phoenix to Charlotte, N.C., I was forced to listen while the young woman directly in back of me told her life story to her seatmate for the entire four-plus hours. Said autobiography featured the word “like,” misused at least 4,356 times. She like did this and then she like did that and then like this happened and then like that happened and then her like parents did like such-and-so and her like friends did like such-and-such and like like like like like like like another 4,341 times, all in a voice loud enough for half the plane to hear. By the way, she identified herself as a senior in college.
Does she talk that way in class? Do her professors, consumed with the need to be liked (No pun intended, really, but it was a good one, eh?), not correct her? The problem is that this mannerism reflects a lack of proper thinking. If one is thinking properly, one speaks properly.
Conversely, when one is not speaking properly, one’s brain is not working properly.
And be assured, it is possible, as this tale illustrates, for the brain of an intelligent person to not work properly.
Every generation develops its rituals and badges of membership. Mine did, for sure, and to fit in I most definitely acquired them. But all I had to do to appear normal to potential employers was cut my hair and stop wearing sunglasses indoors. Looking like Peter Fonda in “Easy Rider” was not a bad habit I had to struggle to break. I know that the repetitive misuse of “like,” starting in pre-adolescence, is going to be an extremely bad habit to break because it quickly develops into an involuntary vocal tic.
I see that potential in my grandson. I want him to enter adulthood with every possible advantage and as few liabilities as possible.
Which is why I won’t tolerate it. Every loving parent, grandparent and teacher should be so intolerant.
FAMILY PSYCHOLOGIST John Rosemond answers parents’ questions at www.rosemond.com.
Always think properly first, then speak when prepared
“Are you trying to tell me something?” I asked my pre-teen grandson.
VIDEO: Family rescued from ferocious feline
A family in Portland, Ore., called 911 after their pet cat scratched their son and "went over the edge," forcing them to take refuge in a bedroom.
In this tech age, how can a plane go missing?
Call 911 from the side of the road, and GPS satellites can tell dispatchers exactly where to send help. Airline passengers have access to detailed maps that show exactly where they are during their journey. Hop onto WiFi, and somehow Google knows whether you're logging on from Lima or London, and will give you detailed suggestions about what to eat.
Researchers tackle mystery of how some snakes can fly
Flying snakes sound like creatures from a bad B-movie, but these serpents are elegant gliders that have evolved a special skill that sets them apart. In two new studies, engineers have used simulations to try to decipher how the wingless reptile manages to remain airborne despite its lack of flight appendages.
POWER TO PERSUADE: Taking something on for Lent
Lent began last week with Ash Wednesday. The 40-day period ends on Easter Sunday, which is April 20 this year. Lent is traditionally observed as a time of repentance. To repent is a translation of the Greek verb “metanoeo,” which has two meanings. The primary meaning is to turn around, to turn one’s face to God. The secondary meaning is to regret one’s sins. The secondary meaning has predominated throughout church history.
‘Dog Whisperer’ helps dogs on new ‘Cesar 911’ show
Best known as the “Dog Whisperer,” Cesar Millan is a world-renowned dog trainer who came to the United States from Mexico as an illegal immigrant and became a celebrity training dogs for the rich and famous. He is the author of several best-selling books, including “Cesar’s Way,” “Be the Pack Leader” and “How to Raise the Perfect Dog.” He also founded the Dog Psychology Center in California. The Millan Foundation rescues and supports abused and abandoned dogs.
VIDEO: Penguin sweaters save birds trapped in oil spills
A wildlife group in Australia is inviting volunteers to knit sweaters for the penguin population it conserves, because it says the sweaters can actually save the lives of birds caught in oil spills.
Get the most out of your calories
When it comes to food selection, most people make their choices based on taste. However, some of those food choices may not be the healthiest options.
3-8 Edmond Senior Center calendar
For information about Edmond senior programs, stop by and pick up a monthly calendar, check out the website at edmondseniorcenter.com or call 216-7600. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and reservations are needed a day in advance by 11 a.m. For lunch reservations, call 330-6293 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
AS I SEE IT: Impatiently waiting for spring
Snow is sheeting off my neighbor’s roof as I sit at the desk thumbing through Soft Surroundings’ spring catalog. I can’t find a thing I want, and that’s never a good sign. What’s the use of thumb shopping when it looks like there might not even be a spring this year? But then comes the rolling thunder, and I half expect the snow to rearrange itself into a swirling spring funnel. Hamlet would say the time is out of joint, and I’d have to agree for a number of reasons.
In addition to this ongoing abominable weather, I personally have been plagued by a number of both literal and figurative out-of-joint events including a near-fatal trip to Bed Bath & Beyond.
Most deadly fraternity scraps initiation for new members
Sigma Alpha Epsilon, one of the largest U.S. fraternities and the deadliest, said Friday it will ban the initiation of recruits, citing the toll that hazing has taken on its newest members.
- More Features Headlines
- VIDEO: Family rescued from ferocious feline