I follow a few blogs. Becky Higgins says that we should “cultivate a good life.” I read the blog, “Live with Flair.” I also have read Gretchin Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, as well as her daily blog. Somewhere I was reading about the word, enhance. I love words. I love funny sounding words. I love going to the thesaurus and finding different words that mean the same thing. It’s funny because when I was a kid, I would not have described myself as a good reader. I did read, but I didn’t like getting called on to read aloud because I felt like I stumbled over those hard words. I didn’t think I was fluent. I remember once a year getting those standardized test scores and under vocabulary, I was always a year behind. It didn’t matter what year. If I was in fourth grade…that test said I scored with a third grade vocabulary…eighth grade…I had a seventh grade vocabulary. I think this drove me to eventually get my Masters in Reading. I never wanted to be the Reading Specialist. I loved the classroom. But I wanted to know how to help my second graders. I wanted them to become lifetime readers.
Fast forward ten years and now I am at home and I am trying to cultivate my own children to become readers and to love words. We have the Nealon Book of Words. Everyone writes a word of the day in the book and then we share it at dinner. Lackadaisical, persnickety, whimsical, kerfuffle, confabulator; are all entries in the book. We talk about where we heard or read this word and what it means. Sometimes the words are everyday words like marshmallow. But did you know that the mallow plant grows in marshy areas and that people used to use the root of the marshmallow plant to make marshmallows? I didn’t…not until my seven year old looked it up
in the dictionary.
in the dictionary.
But then there are those words that stick with you, they stay with you and become a part of you and for me the word enhance is one of those words. The word enhance means to raise to a higher degree; intensify; magnify. Synonyms for enhance are: heighten, strengthen, boost, improve, embellish. These are all positive words. And I just want to enhance something everyday. I enhance Molly’s pancakes in the morning when I put whipped cream on top. I enhance my sugar cookies with icing, sprinkles on cupcakes and marshmallows in hot chocolate.
But, I also want to enhance situations. I have made an effort to greet my children more happily. Sometimes I get so caught up in all the things that have to get done in the afternoon that I would forget to really say hello to them and really listen to how their school day was. So now when my elementary kids jump in the car, they get a big, happy greeting. When my middle schoolers quietly walk into the house and straight to the kitchen for a snack, I seek them out and they get a big, happy greeting.
I want to enhance. When I walk into a room, will I enhance the situation? What I’m about to say, will it enhance the conversation? When I volunteer in my kids’ classrooms, will I enhance their learning? The thing that I hated the most in school when I was a kid is the thing that I now enjoy the most when I go into the classrooms, read aloud. At the end of last school year, I read Epossumondas to my daughter’s class. A few weeks later, the school librarian came up to me and told me that the kids told her that I had read it to them. It happened to be her book selection for their library session that day. She told the class that it’s always good to reread book and that there maybe something you notice the second time that you didn’t notice the first. After she had finished reading the book, one of the kids said to her, “You read that very well. You were almost as good as Mrs. Nealon!”
The librarian enhanced my day by sharing that story and I was glad that I enhanced the students even in a small way.
How will you enhance your day?