Leading With Empathy Towards Grammar “Nerds”

Please note I chose to use other “n” word  used by those who may have been on the receiving end of one your proofreading pokes possibly aimed at their grasp of grammar. And I am not a fan of perpetuating the repeated past story about what we call “nerds,” because I find being interesting, intelligent, curious, and creative to be really cool. Although at the same time I may be a bit apprehensive about hanging out with you because however cool you are to me, I think you are probably judging me on my use of the English language, even in casual social situations. I am not trying to assume. I have made plenty of observations of the “wicket wit” that gets whipped out on the world wide web. Well wicked wit is a not so much an observation, it’s an evaluation I’ve made after reading something like, “Before you pretend like you have a worthwhile perspective, repeat the third grade. ”

“Words are sawn off shotguns,” says  Radiohead in the song “Jigsaw Falling into Place” I agree!

If we could attack other countries with demeaning and inconsiderate attacks on what is perceived as ignorance, you could be on the front line with your linguistic intellect and red pen. You got some bad ass bravado is what I am trying to convey. It’s all that creativity and curiosity fueled by your frustrations with any incorrect usage of our tool for communication, would be my guess. That much rage has got to be backed up with a lot of passion, as is usually the case. Is your passion fueled by a desire to honor human language by holding yourself and others up to an ideal level of competency? Do you feel really scared and worried when you witness misspellings and disagreeable verbs? If so I’d bet it’s because you really value uniformity in language and its ability to help us understand one another, share feelings, ideas, and have a shared sense of reality around communication? Having more mutuality in our written expression could increase connection and decrease confusion, don’t you think? Thinking of it that way I have more patience for your pokes and empathy for your feelings and values. I am wondering however, are their times when you do understand the intention of my expression and yet choose to not respect me, or give my opinion much weight because I have not demonstrated English perfection?

Do you feel a sense of specialness because of how well your brain seems to remember English’s rules and regulations? When you correct someone’s comment on facebook, do you feel like you are providing an important service as a post school grammar guide, or is it something else? I don’t want to assume, so I’ll take a stab at a possibility based on what I was told about why people make fun of others when I was in elementary school, you want to feel like a smarty pants and them to feel like dumb a$$es?

This is what I believe, in some way we are all smarty pants and dumb asses, or rather we all have gifts and challenges. The sciency support I have for this theory is from the work of Dr. Howard Gardner and his idea of multiple intelligences. He believes we have at least 8 different intelligences: mathematical/logical, linguistic, spatial/visual, kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic.


(click on collage for a  closer view)

“While most people possess the full spectrum of intelligences, each reveals distinctive cognitive features. We possess varying amounts of the eight intelligences and combine and use them in highly personal ways. Restricting educational programs to a preponderance of linguistic and mathematical intelligences minimizes the importance of other forms of knowing. Thus many students who fail to demonstrate the traditional academic intelligences are held in low esteem and their strengths may remain unrealized and lost to both the school and society at large. “

Taken the above into consideration, would you like a pilot, mechanic, computer programmer, doctor, dancer, or musician to correct you in public when you don’t display the same level of competence within the intelligences where they succeed? Can you imagine if your mechanic laughed at you because you couldn’t tell that it was the radiator making that weird noise? To her is was so obvious!

“Gardner’s research revealed a wider family of human intelligences than previously believed and offered a refreshingly pragmatic definition of intelligence. Instead of viewing “smartness” in terms of a score on a standardized test, Gardner defines intelligence as: The ability to solve problems that one encounters in real life, the ability to generate new problems to solve, and the ability to make something or offer a service that is valued within one’s culture.” I love this so much!!! We are all brilliant, using our bad-a$$ brains to overcome challenges and create!

May I request some consideration? Are you aware of how much inequality exists within our education system? Do you think that likely contributes to less people becoming capable of communicating completely correctly? Would you agree that life is already uniquely challenging for those who did not have an educationally supportive start in life?

I actually attended decent schools where I struggled with achieving the “perfect paragraph”. If I could not write a perfectly grammatical paragraph then the next week I was required to write an additional one and I think at one point I was up to 7 paragraphs. And it did not matter one iota what the f^%k I wrote about. I personally found that exercise disproportionately focused on the perfection of language in relation to the intention of my expression. And I think the ultimate motivation for language is to contribute to understanding between people, which is why we have an agreed upon language to ensure comprehension and avoid miscommunication.

So what I am hoping is that we can mutually find a way to meet our collective needs for comprehension and expression, and let go of an obsession with perfection. I am aware there are those who use their autonomous audacity to alter words and create new ones and I believe that is their choice. Others choose to use abbreviations or type quick responses without proofreading.  My request would be that they take into consideration that less people will be able to understand their comments and either accept that or phrase themselves differently. I honestly believe that without any compromise we can hold all of our values equally and discover fresh new strategies if we are willing to converse with respectful English decorum. Interested?



 “Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing.” Dr. Marshall Rosenberg


Author: Maria

I'm a Metaphysically Mystified mUSe, Masseuse, and Mediator. Cosmic college educated, side-stream explorer, energetic facilitator of healing with a compassionate core. Passionate about promoting peace for all the precious priceless people of the planet while being perposterously playful and present. An aromaticaly Divine hip gypsy.....who surrenders to sound to shape the invisible. Synchronicities rock my world!

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