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What use are words if not bringing joy?

For a long time the girls rarely acknowledged each other's existence.

Maybe it was their eyesight being very poor as newborns. Or it could have been they didn't piece it together that they were seeing the same person every day.

But slowly they are starting to become friends. They hold hands, try to roll towards each other and even make noises and laugh together.

I've heard that twins can develop their own language. This process is called cryptophasia and is found in both fraternal and identical twins.

It's fascinating to see my girls communicate with grunts and shrieks and fragments of language.

The intensity of their conversations becomes a bit much at times, but it's a wonder to witness.

You can definitely see the beginnings of logic when they try to communicate.

Now that they've started to communicate more, it's made my wife and I make a conscious effort with our own language — how we talk with each other and also how we talk to the babies. I've written before about how children are learning machines. They aren't just soaking in the murmurs of syllables and sounds but also the tone and intent of our words.

Oftentimes we come across children who have colourful language and we wonder where they learnt to talk in such a manner. Well the obvious answer, especially when they are very young, is from those they spend the most time around.

A person's temperament may be innate, but character and language are most definitely learnt behaviour.

I want the language my girls use with others to be like sweet perfume and nourishing milk. Because what is the purpose of language if not to bring peace and joy to the hearts of others?

But they have to learn it at home. And they have to believe that kind words have more purpose than any other words they could use.

This is a hard thing to do. There aren't many examples in modern society of people being appreciated for thinking and speaking kindly with others.

From our political systems to our popular media landscapes and platforms, kindliness and consideration for others are rarely seen as an attribute to be acquired. But maybe that is why modern society has reached a crossroads at this current juncture. We have somewhat lost the ability of see the utility of pleasant language.

This is why we're trying to cut out the sarcasm and teasing at home.

These parts of our language are very confusing for children because these words are aimed to achieve the opposite effect in their listener. Kids need time to learn the nuance of language and it would be best if they didn't have to waste time wondering why their parents are teasing each other (when we really aren't).

These are all very lofty goals, but I say what's the point if you don't try to realise your ideals?

Hopefully our efforts at home will cheer the hearts of many others that may need it in this sometimes unforgiving world.

The wonder of words: children absorb everything parents say to them

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Published December 01, 2016 at 8:00 am (Updated December 01, 2016 at 8:25 am)

What use are words if not bringing joy?

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