Mispronunciation and Mentorship

I have a non traditional passion for language.  I love the shapes of letters and the obscure words of the English language.  On Tuesday I read the Anatoly Liberman‘s etymology blog on the Oxford University Press’ website.  On Friday this blog is used to highlight fonts.  English is wonderful.  It’s wrinkles are well earned and from this author, they are well loved.

Each day we read scriptures together as a family.  We have four kids ranging from 17 (happy birthday Eliza!) down to 9.  This means we have a lot of different reading abilities.  Even among the older kids.  The language of the scriptures are wonderful.  The vocabulary is generally older than other English texts and it includes a lot of words adopted from it’s original Greek, Hebrew, and Reformed Egyptian.  This means there are a lot of unfamiliar words and mispronunciations are prone to happen.

Because of my love for the wrinkles of the language I tend to be pretty good at pronouncing some of the more difficult names and words.  When opportunities emerge to lovingly correct my children I’ve noticed I have one daughter who will apply my prompting for a better pronunciation as an opportunity to learn that pronunciation.  She usually succeeds.

The other will use my reading of the word as an opportunity to avoid the challenge of learning the hard word.  Once it’s spoken (doesn’t matter by whom), she moves on.  It’s as though she sees the goal to be having it spoken once in the setting as if there was someone recording our reading.  But home is not a place for perfect recitation.   There’s no one here recording us.  It’s just us.  It’s a place of learning.

Both of these habits are illustrative of larger lessons in life.

When my one daughter prefers to move on instead of trying the word herself I feel she’s missing out on an opportunity to learn.  On the other hand, her sister is significantly more apt to learn new words at a faster pace because she’s willing to experiment until she gets it correct.

What’s the larger lesson for this in life?

brown book pageWe often find ourselves doing things outside our comfort zone.  In some of these cases we have live mentors physically present.  In others our mentors are the written or spoken records left behind.  When our mentors are present we often don’t want to disappoint.  We want to demonstrate that a certain task can be done, but we don’t always want to show our struggle to get to that point.  Mentors are more than managers we report to when the task is done.  Mentors are those that help us learn to master the task.

 

How you feel around your mentors demonstrates how you feel about them.  If you find yourself apt to practice applying their teaching then you see them as a mentor.  If you find yourself focused on the finished product then you’re seeing your mentor more as a manager.

Mentorship is about helping others through journeys great and small.  Lessons are found in accomplishing the great tasks of life or even the small ones like learning a better pronunciation.

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