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Tuesday, 17 January 2017
Inspired Word for 2017: KIN
First of all, I was drawn to its meaning. Kin is a word that means close relatives, people we are bound to by our family heritage. The four-letter word "kind" is connected because we naturally tend to deal "kindly" with our "kin." One of my daughters asked me during our rather quiet Christmas break why we don't have many gatherings with extended family anymore. She wondered if by not connecting with these kin we were missing out on something good that we were meant to have: closer ties, family stories, a better sense of connectedness.
Something else that drew me to the word "kin" is that it is a beautiful English word. What I mean by English is that it comes from the Germanic branch of languages. These words are quite plain and ordinary; they may be short and sound a bit harsh with their combination of letters. Besides "kin", some other original English words are "cow-like," "bed," "knife," "hat," and "good."
Why would I call it beautiful? Perhaps most people would not. In fact, there is a Facebook picture I saw in the past month which named "100 Beautiful English words," but every one of them was a more recent addition to English as a loanword from French or Latin. For the words I listed above, the so-called beautiful versions would be "bovine," "chamber," "stiletto," "fedora," and "excellent." A beautiful word for me is not so much how poetic it sounds but what it communicates. For me "kin" makes me think of the beautiful reality that we are born into close relationships in which we are to show kindness.
How I hope this word will give shape to my experience of 2017 is that I will be more intentional about forging ties with and appreciating my kin, also for the sake of my children. I want to plan more visits with them and enjoy their company. Next month, Lord willing, my son and my mother will travel to Europe to be with kin. Through their visit, I hope to also feel renewed in my connection to aunts, uncles and cousins living so far away. Other kin live nearby, but the busyness of life often conspires against getting together with them. I want to make greater effort to resist those excuses.
Over this calendar year I hope to share some stories about my kinfolk and what makes cultivating these ties so valuable for my family and me.