A love connection with words

Published 10:11 pm Wednesday, October 23, 2019

By QuaWanna Bannarbie

Today, I am celebrating our everlasting love with the most complex, long-term relationship I hold dear. We have grown together over the years. Our challenges have been many, but we have endured them all. At a young age, I refused him, and others had to introduce him. But I later learned to like him. We started hanging out together during times of reflection and quiet. Sometimes we got loud with one another. Yet, we never have called it quits. In fact, I think we are better because we are together. This relationship has more years than my marriage or my bond with my bestie. All my relationships, including the one with my Savior, mean more to me because I have a connection with my words.

Do you remember when you first began to babble? I know that you don’t. But just for the sake of reminiscing, pretend that you do. Remember how you wanted to say something so badly that your gurgles and high pitches caused people to pay attention. We went through stages of development while mimicry and repetition became our school of communication. We learned to adjust our tones and color our expressions with facial changes and hand motions. All of this created meaning, but still we did not know what we were saying. In preschool, we were introduced to sight words and after that, we were challenged with spelling tests and essays. Somewhere, along the way, we found that words were either our friends or our foes. Why do some of us love to use our words and some of us do not? Why are some of us impressed with a robust vocabulary and some of us quite comfortable using slang? Why are language development and vocabulary building confined to years and years of testing and more testing? How has the relationship with our use of words become so boring? When we were learning about words as growing babies, it was all so exciting. What happened to the first relationship that ever touched our lips?


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Ask yourself, are you fond of your relationship with words?

Recently, I heard someone say, “that which you do not know its proper use, you will abuse.” This is true when I think in terms of people and their relationship with their words. I believe someone missed the mark in the development of a language custodian in showing her or him how to properly use their words. Use means that we take hold of something as a means of accomplishing a purpose.

On Oct. 19, Mrs. Regina McKinney asked me to present a creative writing workshop to her students enrolled in Nursing Careers and Pathways Inc. The program prepares middle and high school students for future careers as nurses or other occupations connected to the medical profession. I chose to title my session, “Own Your Words.” Young people will tell you that they do not enjoy writing, and I shared with them that the reason that most of them do not enjoy it is because they have not taking ownership of it. If they are writing because an assignment has been given, then the teacher, counselor or program facilitator maintains ownership of the assignment. However, if they personally invest themselves in their written work, they now take hold of it to accomplish the purpose that was given by the teacher, counselor or program facilitator.

I have personally experienced much development in my use of words. I have what I consider a compelling testimony about my love connection with words. Language and I are still learning a great deal about one another. He helps me to say what I mean. He helps me to connect and not to offend. He has taught me how to speak my mind and when. We are in such a groove nowadays that he is even showing me how to speak in rhythm and rhyme from time to time. The way I see it, every day is a milestone that we can celebrate, because the more we use our words for good, the better our communities and our world. Everything is connected by words.

QuaWanna Bannarbie is an adjunct professor of nonprofit leadership and management with Indiana Wesleyan University, National and Global. Her children attend Suffolk Public Schools. Connect with her via iamquawanna@thebiggerme.net.