The power of words was one of many lessons my dad taught us as we grew up. Each evening mum would have a 3-course meal for us to enjoy around the dining table (except Saturday which was Sloppy Joes on TV tables watching Disney) and on occasion conversation was devoted to new words.
One I recall with clarity was on long words and dad brought out a doozie - antidisestablishmentarianism. While he did his best to explain it, it was challenging for us kids to truly grasp it. So it was with delight that many years later I saw it used in a newspaper article, and it made complete sense!
I was on one of my annual lecturing stints in Israel and the local paper was running articles on the various factions within Israeli politics. This article outlined strategies used by orthodox groups to counteract those seeking to liberalize some of the country’s long-standing policies, such as shops opening on the Sabbath. So how did my word get used? Let’s break it down.
Establishment – the status quo Disestablishment – breaking down the status quo Antidisestablishment – resisting the breaking down of the status quo Antidisestablishmentarian – a person resisting the breaking down of the status quo Antidisestablishmentarianism – the philosophy of those resisting the breaking down of the status quo
So the article looked at strategies of supporters of Antidisestablishmentarianism. What a wonderful way for me to reconnect with my father’s lessons and be reminded of the power of words.