Clinica Sierra Vista WIC

You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But That Doesn't Make it Right

As a parent, I feel it is my duty to insist that my kids speak the English language using correct grammar. 

It’s not that hard, really; there are just a few basic rules to keep in mind.  The main things to remember when striving to speak using the correct syntax, I tell them, are, “you must remember never to use the word ‘ain’t,’ don’t forget that a singular subject takes a singular verb whilst a plural subject takes a plural verb, and never, ever mix your metaphors.”  And to make sure they didn’t fall into any bad grammatical habits, I insisted they start practicing these rules at an early age.  After all, everyone knows how hard it is for a grown leopard to change his stripes. 

I realize I took a big chance in fostering resentment in my children every time I corrected a sentence such as, “I ain’t got enough times to unload that there dishwasher a’ fore I has to go to school,” pointing out that the correct way to say this sentence is, “I don’t got enough time to unload that there dishwasher a’ fore I has to go to school.”  I knew in the back of my mind that my children just might end up biting the hand that rocks the cradle.  But good grammar is just too dang important, so I decided to throw caution to the moon and began to hone their grammatical skills at an early age.  After all, “a stitch in time is worth a pound of cure,” as they say.

I know what you’re thinking; “Why those children must be grammatical geniuses given the fact that they are the offspring of such an insightful, articulate woman who writes and has real good English.”  To that I would have to say that yes, beyond a question of a doubt I am somewhat gifted in the grammar department.  I think it’s because I practice the walk and keep use good English everyday so as not to let grass grow under a rolling stone.

And I think one of my proudest moments of parenting came when I realized my persistence in having my children follow the rules of language had not been in vain.  It was they day my then 10-year-old daughter used her words (instead of her fists) to in warn her siblings to back off by saying, “Don’t poke the bear or you’ll get the horns!”

Tears sprang in my eyes as I realized that I had drilled my message home; good grammar in the Grimes household had trickled from the bottom on down.

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