Saturday, September 25, 2010

My love affair with words...

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

My love affair with words began many years ago when I sat nestled beside my father on the sofa, watching attentively as he worked the evening newspaper’s crossword puzzle. From time to time he’d ask my advice, as if a 5-year-old had much to offer in the way of the English vocabulary. But with enough hints, I’d guess a few words.

In addition, my daddy made speeches at his weekly labor union meetings. Occasionally, he would take me with him, where I admired him from afar as he voiced his concerns for his fellow workers. Of course, I understood little of what he was saying, but I was so proud.

Preparing for his talks, Daddy literally read the dictionary, noting words he was not familiar with. To include me in the process, he marked words with a dot and then had me list them in the little spiral notebook he carried around in his shirt pocket for easy reference.

In school, English and writing were two of my favorite subjects. I competed in spelling bees in elementary school and enjoyed writing term papers in later years. I loved reading everything from my grandmothers’ worn Bible to my mother’s recipe books, my 10-cent comic books and my coveted Nancy Drew mysteries.

Careerwise, for over 30 years, I worked with words, writing, editing, producing books, managing a daily newspaper and coaching writers. And I loved every minute of it.

Daddy’s not around any longer; cancer took him at an early age. But I think he’d be proud of his daughter. I know he’d enjoy seeing some of the fruits of his labor. When he didn’t even know what he was doing, he was training up his child in the way she should go and I still have not departed from it.

Thank you, Daddy!

(A version of this devotion first appeared in Proverbs for Busy Women: Devotions to Refresh You in Your Work, edited by yours truly, published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, Nashville, 1995.)

No comments:

Post a Comment