This week I’m posting a portrait of my son and one of his greatest, most special friends. It’s a little opaque, I know, as portraits go. But then so is he sometimes. Not long ago my son decided to only use the word ‘chicken’ in place of all nouns. Now that really was opaque; “What would you like for supper?” I’d ask. He’d reply, “Chicken please!” Followed by, “Or shall we have chicken instead? I don’t know. I kind of feel like chicken.” And later, “Chicken! Chicken’s hurting me!!” Or, “I really hate chicken, it’s so chicken.” Even so, I marvelled at his timing because his overwhelming commitment to one single noun came along just as I started the semiotic section of my course. My son, lover of the word ‘chicken’ had managed to illustrate the arbitrary nature of words in one morning whereas the complex and difficult book I was struggling with remained almost entirely out of my intellectual reach. I’m happy to say I’m getting there with it, slowly it’s true, but I thank my 8 year old for his help. I don’t know how old the author of the book is but I wonder if he’d like some advice from my son, about the way in which chickens can be so very strange. For such a cavalier disregarder of so many words in favour of one, it might surprise you to hear that he later wrote a poem at school which was so good no one believed it had sprung from his own pen. How frustrating that must have been for him. He declared sadly that no-one trusted him, except for me (and I had my doubts, I have to admit). The thing is, children and young people, when we give them the space, can do amazing things. Let’s listen to our young people more and stop underestimating them. They’re pretty wonderful when we let them be.
Have a great chicken everyone. x
Image (c)SJField 2016