Thinking of the importance of semantics this morning.

For example, the overuse of the word “mistake” if your name starts with “Dr”. I have a 6-year-old. When she does something wrong, I think of the root cause of her action before determining whether it was a “mistake” or something she should get in trouble for. Observing other parents, I think that’s pretty common.

Ego is not a “mistake”. Prejudice and discrimination are not “mistakes”. They just aren’t. And when we use the word “mistake” to describe what happens to victims of ego, prejudice, and discrimination, we are doing a great disservice to the dignity of those victims.

Or how about the use of the word “normal” when it comes to grief? Again, I don’t compare 6-year-olds’ different reactions to the world as “normal” or “not-normal”, because they are all different people with different experiences. Observing other parents, I think that is pretty common.

I read an article this morning that said: “6 months of grief is normal”.  And then the article went on to say.. oh, except if you’ve lost a spouse; especially if you’ve lost a child; and particularly if the death was a result of violence or trauma (or any of the other categories this article forgot to mention). That leaves an awful lot of not “normal” people in this world. And when we use the word “normal” to describe grief, it does a great disservice to those who don’t fall within the “norm”.

So, please, stop it. Just stop it.

Because sometimes, semantics matter.  A lot.