One Word

A few weeks ago, my grandson, Maddux, came home from kindergarten with an interesting homework assignment.   When I was a kid, kindergarten was coloring and blocks and maybe a little clay.  Maddux’s homework was to describe each member in his family with One Word.  Since Maddux didn’t completely understand the task at hand, the whole family, starting with the parents. took turns picking out words for each other.  Given the situation, I don’t suppose anyone could give their choices much thought … something fast and complimentary probably sufficed. But of course, sitting around with nothing to do during my posting break, it occurred to me that if you do stop to think, it is a very difficult task.   I mean  you have scan through hundreds of good points and (if you loved one is going to hear your One Word) ignore the several warts that drift by, too.  Then when you’re done, you realize the words you pick to describe your family say as much about you as it does about them.

Now, if you’re inclined to be introspective, you can try the same sort of verbal surgery on yourself. Ask yourself … what One Word would you use to describe yourself?   Be honest.   Hard, huh?  That’s because as human beings, we have an Inner Censor who’s a lot more concerned about what we should say than honesty … and an Inner Critic determined that we don’t make ourselves sound too good.  If you’re in an experimental mood, try this.   Sit down with pen in hand and write ten words that might be your One Word as fast as you can.  Remember … might … you’re going to get to throw out your mistakes, but writing fast gets your Critic and Censor out of the game.  If you can, do ten more, same rules.   When you’ve got your list, cross out half without over-thinking it … then half again and again until there’s one word left.  And you have it.

What’s your One Word?  Mine?  It’s Passionate.  Twenty years ago, I probably would have said Intelligent, but that was then and this, of course, is now.  Intelligent did, however, make my Top Ten.  As did Humble.

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10 Comments on “One Word”

  1. Cheryl P. Says:

    What an interesting assignment. I can’t think that there is “one” word that could be the “most” descriptive as we are all so complicated.

    I suspect that if our 5 year old grandson picked out my word it would be far more complimentary than any word I would pick for myself. He seems to think I am perfect which isn’t even in the realm of realistic.

  2. territerri Says:

    Passionate … I’d be inclined to agree with you. As I’ve come to know you through your writing, passion is definitely a trait that comes shining through in your words.


  3. I agree with Terri’s assessment of your “one word.” Thinking about this for myself -well I came up with two words, depending on the frame of mind I might be in -empathetic and bitch. Both are pretty much on the money and one kind of erases the other out when it appears.

    • oldereyes Says:

      One of the things I like about passionate is that it can cover both the empathetic and curmudgeonly aspects of my personality without taking sides 🙂


  4. Hmmmm… One word? That’s tough. But I think the one word to describe me would be LOUD.

  5. Allison Says:

    I love this! And you’re right, it is a really hard assignment, especially when assigning the words to family members. I tried it, and I think my word is “growing.” I’m sure that will change over time, but right now that’s a big theme in my life 🙂 Thanks for the fun idea!


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