One of my (Stacie’s) favorite debates is the word usage. The subtle differences between nouns like “creep” and “weirdo” can complete change the subtext of a conversation. I think most of us understand that sort of distinction, and accept certain words to have specific underlying means that don’t require us to spell out the intended meaning. It’s an easy way to short-cut concepts and why business jargon is such a prevalent issue (anyone strategizing today?)
What happens when a word changes parts of speech? As in, it leaves the noun category and changes to a verb. For me, my thought process and concepts of that word are forever altered.
I have two boys headed into the high school years. As they grow and change, my understanding of my role changes too. In the last year, I’ve changed the part of speech that “parent” falls under to a verb, and have almost completely removed it as a noun from my vocabulary.
It’s impossible for me to apply this to any situation other than my own, but when I parent, I am thinking of not only the immediate needs of my kids, but the long term needs that they will have to be exceptional adults in the world. Parent is more than the familial connection I have with them as their mother; it is also the responsibility to demonstrate what a healthy adult looks like, and how to navigate through those sticky situations that require deep breaths, thinking, boundaries, and apologies.
Recognizing parent as a verb has changed the dynamic that I approach my relationship with my boys. I pause more, and reflect on my own actions, and ask if I am being a parent (noun) or parenting (verb).
This weekend, I challenge you to find a noun that you use to describe yourself – parent, friend, faith, reader. If you change it from a noun to a verb, how does it change you?