My wife and I have three daughters in the house – still children. The youngest of whom is not in double figures yet in terms of her age.
Those daughters are blessed with an incredibly expressive and animated mother. They also live with a father who is very much keen on speaking properly. Often their two parents can have a little difference of expression which leads them to chuckle at their parents. For all that, they know that both parents like it when things are clear. They don’t like it when things look a bit … suspiciously ambiguous. It doesn’t leave a pleasant scent in the air for their nostrils. Those daughters know that their father and mother will do what it takes to make the air clear.
It’s very good then when I get to hear any one of the three daughter read for me. Even the youngest one can read in a way that is expressive, engaging and most importantly they can speak clearly. They do not just read the words on the page in a plain and dull way, they see those words together and having a meaning, so they endeavour to read it with the meaning, understanding the meaning and expressing it as clearly as they can. It’s pleasing to my ears.
There’s a sentiment that’s offered in response to less than forthcoming or startled or incredulous response. That set up usually looks like this:
Dad: Go and tidy your bedroom.
Girl: Say whaaaaaaaat?
Dad: Did I stutter – you heard me, go and tidy your bedroom
That whole ‘did I stutter’ thing makes me chuckle. What’s clearly goin on here is that it wasn’t as though the message wasn’t clear. It was very clear indeed, there could be no mistaking about it. It wasn’t muggled or lost in translation. That level of clarity leaves no doubt as to what should be done.
I am aware that not everything in life is clear and can be clear. For whatever reason we have to negotiate areas of life that can be complex and not all ambiguity has to be sinister and suspicious. Yet, there are times where it appears as though we cannot accept what’s clearly been said on a situation. It’s as though rather than accepting that which has been clearly and authoritatively stated on a matter, we would prefer to disregard that and entertain our own alternatives that in themselves can wind and twist and turn into all manner of confusion.
It is not always easy and straightforward to go with what is clearly stated. It can be inconvenient, awkward, uncomfortable and mildly upsetting. (OK, sometimes more than mildly upsetting.) When it’s clearly stated, though, it’s there to get a desired response. Far better to work through the discomfort and respond appropriately to what’s been clearly stated, than trek along murky paths of resistance.
Far better that, than the outcome of the alternatives.
That way as well, at least we’re keeping in order.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden