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choosing to remove words from your vocabulary
Photography by and illustration by kiko tabuchi kennedy

choosing to remove words from your vocabulary

by Keri Lassalle keri lassalle
Cultivate Relationships | Children


being impeccable with our words
We have a new access point of consciousness in our house. It takes the form of a list – better known to the three children of the Lassalle household as the “refrigerator words.” The refrigerator words take the form of a list, prefaced by a sentence that ominously reads: “Words that the Lassalle children are under no circumstances EVER allowed to use.”

Okay, perhaps you are thinking that this sounds more like Orwellian torture than an access point of consciousness. In fact, my life coach husband suggested rather strongly that I not let the readers of Yogi Times know that I am committing such horrific crimes against the free will of innocent children. I took a moment to remind him that this list of words – which has also been a source of many giggles, I must add – is not about revoking freewill. On the contrary, it is to help them to avoid becoming slaves to their language. Instead of just saying the meaningless words that are so easily tossed around school playgrounds, I wanted them to be able to think about
the power of the words they use, consciously.

What I noticed upon moving back to California after ten years in France and England was that the Californian version of English I grew up with – heavily infused with words like “um,” “like,” or the dismissive “whatever” – is a slang used in place of connected feeling and individual thinking. It is an easy place to go unconscious. And in the last year, I have noticed our entire family has begun to use words like “dude,” “awesome,” “gross,” “duh,” and “oh my god.”

The truth is that my children have taken well to the “refrigerator words.” In fact, they have now become keen listeners at dinners and breakfasts - to their mom and Dad! Being a democratic family (in truth – and perhaps overly so), my eight year old daughter has begun to copiously add to the list some words which she thinks I need to stop saying. She has added words like “yaaaaa,” “well hello,” and “shirt.” The latter makes me glad that although she has become quite conscious with her word use, she is still not quite a proficient speller.





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