Life Lessons, Parenting

What’s at the (Greek or Latin) Root?

“Mom, will you quiz me?”

I recognize the look. It’s equal parts despair and panic. It’s 7 am on a Friday morning and my daughter suddenly remembered the quiz scheduled for 9:15. I love this one’s joie de vivre, but her propensity to ‘overlook’ the boring stuff until it’s bearing down on her gets tiring. She’s in that stop-everything-for-my-crisis mode. I know that mode. Sometimes I think I invented that mode.

Coffee cup in hand, I grab the stapled study guide from the breakfast table and begin quizzing her on the Greek and Latin roots of words. Inside me, an inner word geek rejoices. I love this stuff. I’m a crack Balderdash player. In college, linguistics was my favorite course.

Yes, if you are wondering, I own my geeky weirdness.

Her list provides sample words from which she must decipher the roots.  I provide “Inspire. Spirit. Inspiration.”

She shouts, “Spir! Breathe! Latin!”

We plow through the list quickly. She knows them better than she thought. (Another successfully completed Hail Mary pass from the last minute kid.)

An hour later, I’m driving to a writer’s networking meeting I’ve never attended before. I’m fairly certain I won’t know a soul there, which normally doesn’t bother me. Yet the closer I drive toward this meeting, the more agitated I become. The writer’s voice in my head speaks sabotage today. It’s certain I’ll be the least accomplished there. It’s telling me I don’t belong, won’t fit in, and shouldn’t bother trying to attend. Suddenly, I feel twelve years old.

The sneaky, siren song of criticism has taken over my head. Yet just when I’m ready to turn the car around, I remember my morning quiz prep with my daughter.

“Cor. Heart. Latin.”  Root for words such as courage, cordial, core, courageous.

The root word for courage is cor. Heart. It takes courage to follow the heart. When you think about it, many moments each day require heart.  What’s requiring your courage–your heart–today? Perhaps it’s when the inner critic starts chattering or the outer world wears us down. But take heart. Remember the root. Courage.

Cor. Heart. Latin.

One thought on “What’s at the (Greek or Latin) Root?”

  1. Tom Palmersheim says:

    We so often are our own worst enemies. Why is that??

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