Back in June, I wrote a post about things I’d learned in June, and then realized there was no June link-up for that. Now, though, it’s the end of July, and Emily P. Freeman has invited us to share things we learned this summer in her link-up. So here I am, sharing for July. (Disclaimer: I spent July taking summer classes for a Teaching English as a Second Language certification. I’m practicing great self-control in not making every point something I learned in summer school.)
1. I learned that Noam Chomsky, linguist, is responsible for hypothesizing a language acquisition device (LAD) innate in every human born: in other words, people, unlike animals, have language skills built-in, which is why little children learn language without formal language instruction. The fascinating thing is that, while most linguists accept the LAD as a given in language-learning, no one can explain it. (Design?!) I was also excited to learn one of Chomsky’s accomplishments, because heretofore I remembered him as someone one of my English-major friends presented on in an undergraduate course, but the only thing I remembered was the aforesaid friend’s voice pronouncing Chomsky’s name.
2. I learned how to spell my name (and other stuff) using the International Phonetic Alphabet: [stesi nαt]. It looks kind of horrible.
3. I learned that, when you don’t have flowers, red bottle rockets stuck in blue bottles actually make pretty cute table decorations for the Fourth of July. (But I didn’t take a picture.)
4. I learned that I like Arabic coffee (as in coffee such as is served in Saudi Arabia, by Saudi Arabians). My understanding is that the coffee beans are more green for this coffee, and that, having ground the coffee, they mix it with spices including cardamom and cloves. Whatever the process, it is delicious, and my Saudi friends tell me that no such coffee can be purchased in the U.S. (They brought theirs from home.)
5. I learned that kayaking on a river in Mississippi is different from kayaking on a river in Florida. (Duh, right?) But that it is a nice way to spend a Saturday, even so.
6. I learned both that Mosul, Iraq, has held a large Christian community for a very long time and that that community has been decimated this month by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), who told the Christians they must convert to Islam, pay a high tax, or face violent punishment. Most of them fled.
7. I learned that confidence is built into the structure of the Great Commission: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . . and lo, I am with you always.” The One with all authority is always with us; what is there to fear? (I see you looking back at my #6. I’m looking there, too. He. Is. With. Us.)
8. I learned that I’m still scared. Of so many things.
9. I learned that God is still good. In so many more ways than I am scared. Infinitely, inexpressibly good. Good in giving, and good in withholding. With a goodness that rests not on my merit — I have none — but on His very Self, in whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.
©2014 by Stacy Nott