I have heard that excellent writers pays particular attention to word choice. Is a word the best fit? Does it have the most specific meaning? Are they using it correctly? Would another word work better?
Lately, I have noticed that we often use words but they don't mean what we think they mean when we say them. Was that sentence confusing? It made sense in my head. I clearly need my brother's intervention...Joel?
Perhaps I should try an example:
My sweet 6 year-old daughter
But, I want her to know the difference. I want her to know that there actually are 6 year-olds who are "deprived of food." I want her to develop compassion for them as well as gratefulness for the cheese stick she can get out of the fridge. For this reason, I try to encourage my kids not to use the phrase, "I'm starving." They can say, "I'm hungry" (which interestingly can mean either "starving" or "desirous") or "I want something to eat."
Another common scenario is when my son says that he needs a new Lego set. I try to tell him that he does not need a Lego set; he wants a Lego set. (And that his mother thinks we need to sell or give away some of the Legos we already have....I digress.)
I have always thought of a need as something a person had to have: water, food, shelter. But I looked up the word on thesaurus.com and it gave the definition: "want, requirement." Have we as Americans actually modified the definition of a word by our use of it? That seems crazy.
I just started a book about getting rid of "excess" in our lives. At first, it was hard to imagine our family lived in excess. It sounds so exorbitant. The definition of excess was "overabundance of something" which sounds like you have to have bins or closets overflowing with food and supplies.
But then I checked out the synonym list: spare, duplicate, surplus, waste. Wow. According to this, we live with excess and lots of it. So, we have a challenge. An obligation even. To sort. To give. To share. To be godly stewards (managers) of all He has given us.
Spiderman warns us that, "With great power comes great responsibility." I'd like to suggest that knowledge is power and with it does come great responsibility. So I hope to use it wisely. Anyone else want to join me? I just might need some help along the way.