Sunday, January 21, 2007


Each day I get an email from Merriam-Webster. Actually, I get two, since I've subscribed to two Word-of-the-Day lists. One is a daily word, complete with etymology, and the other is especially for English language learners. The second doesn't have etymology but it does have a link you can click on to hear the word pronounced and it includes some information on how to use it. (You can find information on these lists here.)

One day last week the word from the second list was "kidnap." But really, that's not a word I need to teach my students, even those for whom English is a second, or third, language. They all know what it means. Not because I taught it to them, but because life taught it to them.

Last year we gathered as a middle school to pray together for three separate kidnappings. This is not to say that these were the only kidnappings that happened to people our kids were close to - these were just the closest ones. One was a parent of one of my students.

When I first thought about writing a post on kidnappings I thought that would give away where I live, but when I did a quick search of Google News for stories about the topic, Tecwil didn't even come up in the pages I looked at. Probably that's because of all the stories about kidnapping in the United States over the past few days. But the stories weren't just about the United States - lots of other countries have this problem to varying degrees.

Right now we are waiting for news of a young child who has been kidnapped. I don't want to say any more about the situation here, just that it's such a horrible crime. Here it's all about money. All about terrifying people and destroying their peace of mind in return for money.

And part of you always thinks, a bit guiltily because it seems so self-absorbed, that could be me. And much, much worse, that could be...I can't even type it. I try not to think it.

This is a vocabulary word I wish none of my students knew. Oh, Lord, don't let us have to meet as a middle school again this year, praying for someone's release.

1 comment:

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

I am an absolute believer in the power of vocabulary. Long live word geeks!!!!