My Three Favorite Words

Go with the flow... by muha

"Go with the flow..." by muha

I know it’s kind of random, but I thought I’d at least throw this out there.

I have favorite words. These are words that sound good, look good, and have some sort of important meaning to me. In an attempt to try something different, I thought I would share my three favorite words. Maybe you could share yours, as well, either in the comments or on your blog. I’m curious to know what words some other people really appreciate.

1. Flow. I love this word above all others for a number of reasons. First, it sounds like what it means – smooth, effortless, almost placid; I can hear the long O sound trail off at the end, rather than coming to a complete stop. I love how “flow” works its way into just about every aspect of life, and in a positive way. I first began appreciating this word as it relates to Ultimate (as in, Frisbee) – it’s the idea that the offense should steadily work its way up the field to score, rather than picking up big gains or stalling in one area. Over time, though, I’ve come to associate “flow” with a lot of things: the way we should smoothly connect one curriculum topic to the next, the way a good book reads, even the how we should understand the rising and falling of life itself.

2. Balance. I love how the two syllables in this word are themselves balanced around the “L.” It creates a sort of steady hesitance to the word. In football, coaches talk a lot about “balance” and how good teams are very balanced between offense and defense, run and pass, etc. Teaching, also, is all about balance – classroom management, instructional strategies, differentiation and everything else requires finding that middle ground that gives every student an opportunity to learn. Too much of one thing and too little of another means some students don’t get that opportunity. In English, I have to balance teaching reading and writing. In Batman Begins, the villain, Ducard, says that “Justice is balance.” Even more so, I think, life in general is about balance – between work and play, busyness and rest, and so on. Without balance in our lives, we move toward the extremes of stress or sloth.

3. Space. The fleeting sound of this word – with the two “s” sounds bookending the long “a” sound – conveys a sense of calm to me. And that’s what I feel about this word. Like flow, it’s a word with a lot of different applications for me. In football, you want to get your best players out in space – a place where they can do the things they’re good at and where they can make great plays (now translate that to education). On a teaching level, it’s an important concept – allow space in lectures and discussions for students to think (also called wait time). In music, great musicians are all about space – those rests between notes. B.B. King, Miles Davis, and many other jazz, blues, and classical artists have made a living on the concept of musical space. Even on a personal level, the idea of space is appealing to me as both an introvert and a fan of the outdoors. Having the space to enjoy myself and not be bothered by people is a wonderful gift for me (one of the reasons I love snowboarding so much).

So there you have it – my three favorite words.

What are yours?


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