Discovering the Power of Words
Shortly after our daughter was born, my wife returned to her job, and leaving(31) each morning for her office. I worked at home, and it was a consequence,(32) for the first few months of our daughter’s life, I was the daytime caregiver.
Each day my daughter and I went out together to run errands. And each day brought a new lesson about the power of words. Imperceptibly, postal(33) clerks would joke about my having been “stuck babysitting.” A grocery checker may(34) comment that Mom must have needed some “beauty sleep,” and so “poor Papa” was sent out shopping.
All these people thought that my active parenting was odd. They assumed parenting had been foisted upon me. What I remember most about their comments were(35) that I began to believe them and to doubt my ability to be as good a parent than what(36) my wife might be. Their assumptions and their words, appropriate or not,(37)  had power.
Now that our daughter is three, I’ve noticed how words empower and enchant her. She listens with an eagle eye out(38) for subtleties, tries out the power of rude words, and, in the end, takes everything all too literally. That’s the reason which(39) I’m disturbed when I hear adults tell her that. Although(40) she might like to run and climb with the boys now, soon she will want to play house with the girls.
Having grown up in the feminist era, comments about what is appropriate behavior for girls, 41 boys, women, and men I did not now expect to hear.(41) I must admit, though, that when chairperson, mail carrier, and police officer were being pressed into the language to replace chairman, mailman, and policeman, I had my doubts; what I doubted was that words could effect change. Yet(42) I see now with my daughter that language does change what we perceive as possible and appropriate. A mailman is not a woman; a mail carrier might well be a woman.(43)


  • B. words appropriate or not, 

  • C. words, appropriate or not 

  • D. words appropriate or not